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Κίνα και Ταϊβάν ξεκινούν σήμερα έναν ιστορικό διάλογο για πρώτη φορά μετά το τέλος του εμφυλίου πολέμου το 1949, σε κλίμα άμβλυνσης των εντάσεων και ελπίδας για ενίσχυση των ανταλλαγών ανάμεσα στις δύο χώρες.


Κίνα και Ταϊβάν ξεκινούν σήμερα έναν ιστορικό διάλογο για πρώτη φορά μετά το τέλος του εμφυλίου πολέμου το 1949, σε κλίμα άμβλυνσης των εντάσεων και ελπίδας για ενίσχυση των ανταλλαγών ανάμεσα στις δύο χώρες.

Ο ταϊβανέζος υπουργός Ουάνγκ Γου-τσι, αρμόδιος για τις σχέσεις με την ηπειρωτική Κίνα, συνοδευόμενος από 20 αξιωματούχους, έφθασε σήμερα στη Ναντζίνγκ της ανατολικής Κίνας για να συναντήσει εκεί τον ομόλογό του Ζανγκ Ζιτζούν, επικεφαλής του κινεζικού γραφείου ταϊβανικών υποθέσεων.

Οι πολύ υψηλού επιπέδου επαφές αυτές διεξάγονται στη Ναντζίνγκ, την πόλη που το εθνικιστικό στρατόπεδο του Τσιανγκ Κάι-σεκ είχε επιλέξει ως πρωτεύουσα. “Η επίσκεψη δεν είναι εύκολη. Είναι το αποτέλεσμα πολυετών επαφών μεταξύ των δύο πλευρών. Ελπίζω να διεξαχθεί ομαλά”, δήλωσε ο Ουάνγκ πριν αναχωρήσει από το διεθνές αεροδρόμιο Ταογιουάν στην Ταϊπέι.
Οι διαπραγματεύσεις αρχίζουν σήμερα και θα διαρκέσουν έως τις 14 του μήνα.
Η επίσκεψη του Ουάνγκ αποτελεί μια “σημαντική πρόοδο”, μετέδωσε σήμερα το κινεζικό πρακτορείο ειδήσεων Νέα Κίνα.

Η πρώτη συνάντηση μεταξύ δύο κυβερνητικών αξιωματούχων δείχνει τις προσπάθειες που καταβάλλονται εδώ και χρόνια από τη μια και την άλλη πλευρά του Στενού της Φορμόζας για να επουλωθούν οι πληγές του εμφυλίου πολέμου που οδήγησε το 1949 στο διαχωρισμό μεταξύ “Δημοκρατίας της Κίνας” και “Λαϊκής Δημοκρατίας της Κίνας”.

Εκείνη τη χρονιά, δύο εκατομμύρια Κινέζοι, πιστοί στον εθνικιστή ηγέτη Τσιάνγκ Κάι Σεκ που ηττήθηκε από τους άνδρες του Μάο, κατέφυγαν στο νησί της Ταϊβάν. Το Πεκίνο θεωρεί την Ταϊβάν αποσχισθείσα επαρχία του και δεν έχει αποποιηθεί την επανένωση ακόμη και δια της στρατιωτικής βίας αν χρειαστεί. Ωστόσο η ένταση στις σχέσεις μεταξύ των δύο οντοτήτων μειώθηκε μετά την εκλογή το 2008 του προέδρου Μα Γινγκ-ζέου.

Ο υπεύθυνος για την αναγέννηση του εθνικιστικού κόμματος Κουομιντάνγκ επανεξελέγη το 2012 και τάσσεται υπέρ των σχέσεων με την ηπειρωτική Κίνα.

Μετά τις διστακτικές επαφές της δεκαετίας του 1990, Ταϊβάν και κομμουνιστική Κίνα ξεπέρασαν το 2010 ένα καθοριστικό σημείο στην πορεία για την εξομάλυνση των σχέσεων υπογράφοντας μια συμφωνία-πλαίσιο οικονομικής συνεργασίας υπό την προτροπή του Μα Γινγκ-ζέου. Η συμφωνία αυτή και άλλα βήματα βάσει ενός σχεδίου ανοίγματος, όπως η επανάληψη των απευθείας αεροπορικών πτήσεων, τέθηκαν υπό διαπραγμάτευση από ημιεπίσημους οργανισμούς, καθώς Πεκίνο και Ταϊπέι δεν διατηρούν διπλωματικές σχέσεις.

“Το ταξίδι αυτό έχει καθοριστικές συνέπειες για τη συνέχιση της θεσμοθέτησης των σχέσεων μεταξύ των δύο πλευρών του Στενού της Φορμόζας”, δήλωσε ο Ουάνγκ στον Τύπο κατά την ανακοίνωση του ταξιδιού του στα τέλη Ιανουαρίου. “Ως πρώτος πρόεδρος του συμβουλίου ηπειρωτικών υποθέσεων έχω συνείδηση της μεγάλης μου ευθύνης και του δρόμου που θα είναι μακρύς”, πρόσθεσε.

Ο διπλωμάτης θα συζητήσει κυρίως τη ίδρυση γραφείων σύνδεσης, την περιφερειακή οικονομική ολοκλήρωση, την πρόσβαση των ταϊβανών φοιτητών στην Κίνα σε υπηρεσίες ιατρικής περίθαλψης. Το θέμα της ελευθερίας του Τύπου θα συζητηθεί επίσης. Αύριο, ο Ουάνγκ θα επισκεφθεί το μαυσωλείο του επαναστάτη και πατέρα της Κινεζικής Δημοκρατίας Σουν Γιατ-σεν στη Ναντζίνγκ και θα μιλήσει στο πανεπιστήμιο της πόλης αυτής.

Ανάλογα με το αποτέλεσμα των συνομιλιών, η διαμονή του Ουάνγκ στην Κίνα μπορεί να θέσει την πρώτη βάση μιας συνάντησης μεταξύ του Μα Γινγκ-ζέου και του κινέζου προέδρου Σι Τζινπίνγκ, εκτιμά ο Τζορτζ Τσάι, πολιτικός επιστήμονας στην Ταϊπέι. Εντούτοις “οι δύο πλευρές ψάχνουν τις πέτρες κάτω από τα πόδια τους διασχίζοντας τον ποταμό”, τονίζει επικαλούμενος μια κινεζική παροιμία για την επίδειξη σύνεσης.

Η σύνοδος κορυφής των ηγετών του APEC (της Οικονομικής συνεργασίας των χωρών Ασίας-Ειρηνικού) στο Πεκίνο τον Οκτώβριο θα ήταν για το σκοπό αυτό μια ιδανική ευκαιρία, σύμφωνα με τον Ουάνγκ Γου-τσι. Ο πρόεδρος της Κίνας Σι είχε συναντήσει τον πρώην αντιπρόεδρο της Ταϊβάν Βίνσεντ Σιου στο περιθώριο της τελευταίας συνόδου του APEC στην Ινδονησία τον Οκτώβριο του 2013. Η Κίνα αντιτίθεται στην επίσημη παρουσία ταϊβανών αξιωματούχων στους κόλπους του οργανισμού Ασίας-Ειρηνικού.

Η Ταϊβάν θα μετάσχει στις επαφές αυτές για να προωθήσει πρακτικά θέματα στους τομείς της οικονομίας και της ασφάλειας. Η Κίνα στοχεύει στην επιστροφή της Ταϊβάν στους κόλπους της, παρατηρεί ο Ζία Σινγκουό, καθηγητής στο πανεπιστήμιο του Τόκιο. Η Κίνα “προσδίδει ίσως μεγαλύτερη σημασία στην επίσπευση της οικονομικής ολοκλήρωσης, έχοντας κατά νου την πολιτική ενοποίηση πιο μακροπρόθεσμα”. Ο δρόμος είναι ακόμη μακρύς και γεμάτος από εμπόδια έως την εξομάλυνση των σχέσεων μεταξύ Πεκίνου και Ταϊπέι αλλά η συνάντηση στο Ναντζίνγκ έχει βαθιά “συμβολική σημασία για την οικοδόμηση της εμπιστοσύνης από τη μια και την άλλη πλευρά”, υπογραμμίζει.

Πηγή: sky.gr

Λυμπερίδου Στέλλα

Ο λαός της Ρουάντα έχει εργαστεί ακούραστα για να αφήσει το ταραχώδες παρελθόν της χώρας του πίσω, ανοίγοντας το δρόμο για ένα πιο ελπιδοφόρο μέλλον όπου η ειρήνη και η σταθερότητα βοηθούν να μετατραπεί η χώρα σε μία από τις ταχύτερα αναπτυσσόμενες οικονομίες της Αφρικής .

Λυμπερίδου Στέλλα

“Εάν πραγματοποιήσετε τους Ολυμπιακούς θα λάβετε ένα δώρο από εμάς για εσάς και τους τουρίστες που θα έλθουν”.

Με την ελπίδα να μην υπάρξει και τρίτο τρομοκρατικό χτύπημα, η Ρωσία μετράει τις πληγές της ύστερα από τη δεύτερη τυφλή επίθεση αυτοκτονίας που έζησε και πάλι η πόλη του Βόλγκογκραντ (πρώην Στάλινγκραντ).

14 νεκροί και 20 τραυματίες ο απολογισμός της επίθεσης jpg

Την ευθύνη για δυο βομβιστικές επιθέσεις αυτοκτονίας που στοίχισαν τη ζωή σε 34 ανθρώπους τον περασμένο μήνα στη ρωσική πόλη Βόλγκογκραντ ανέλαβε ισλαμική οργάνωση, ενώ απείλησε να πραγματοποιήσει επίθεση με στόχο τους Χειμερινούς Ολυμπιακούς Αγώνες του Σότσι.

Άνδρας καμικάζι, λίγα δευτερόλεπτα μετά την επιβίβασή του σε τρόλεϊ, πυροδότησε την εκρηκτική ύλη, βάρους πέντε κιλών, με την οποία ήταν ζωσμένος, με αποτέλεσμα 14 άνθρωποι να χάσουν τη ζωή τους και άλλοι 20 να τραυματιστούν, ανάμεσά τους και ένα βρέφος περίπου ενός έτους.

Πίσω από το αμιγώς τραγικό σκέλος της υπόθεσης, έντονο είναι το πολιτικό υπόβαθρό της, καθώς οι τρομοκράτες κατόρθωσαν να πλήξουν τόσο την εικόνα του Κρεμλίνου, αλλά και εκείνη των Χειμερινών Ολυμπιακών Αγώνων, οι οποίοι θα ξεκινήσουν σε έξι βδομάδες στο Σότσι της Μαύρης Θάλασσας.

Η Ρωσία βρίσκεται αντιμέτωπη με έναν τρομοκρατικό εφιάλτη, που για μια σειρά σοβαρών λόγων ίσως είναι σε θέση να τον μετατρέψει σε χειρότερο ακόμη και από τον αντίστοιχο που έζησαν οι ΗΠΑ το 2001.

Η ισλαμική οργάνωση που ευθύνεται για την επίθεση, με βίντεο που αναρτήθηκε στο διαδίκτυο σε μια προειδοποίηση προς τον πρόεδρο Βλαντίμρ Πούτιν για τους Ολυμπιακούς Αγώνες του επόμενου μήνα, εμφανίζεται να λέει: “Εάν πραγματοποιήσετε τους Ολυμπιακούς θα λάβετε ένα δώρο από εμάς για εσάς και τους τουρίστες που θα έλθουν”.

“Το δώρο αυτό θα είναι για το μουσουλμανικό αίμα που χύνεται κάθε ημέρα στον κόσμο, στο Αφγανιστάν, τη Σομαλία, τη Συρία, παντού. Αυτή θα είναι η εκδίκησή μας”, τονίζει στο βίντεο ο άνδρας αυτός.

Σύμφωνα με το βίντεο, τις επιθέσεις στο Βόλγκογκραντ πραγματοποίησαν δύο άνδρες ονόματι Σουλεϊμάν και Αμπντουραχμάν για λογαριασμό της οργάνωσης Βιλαγιάτ Νταγκεστάν, η οποία έχει διασυνδέσεις με την ιρακινή Ανσαρ αλ-Σούνα.

Δρακόντεια μέτρα

Πέραν των δρακόντειων μέτρων ασφαλείας, η πικρή αλήθεια, την οποία γνωρίζουν οι αρχές, είναι πως αν δεν υπάρξει άμεση εξόντωση της ηγεσίας των τρομοκρατών ή σαφείς πληροφορίες για τους επόμενους στόχους τους, σε μια χώρα με το μέγεθος της Ρωσίας και τις γεωγραφικές και πληθυσμιακές ιδιομορφίες της, είναι σχεδόν αδύνατον να αποτρέψουν ένα διαρκές μπαράζ επιθέσεων, το οποίο θεωρητικά μπορεί να γίνει σε κάθε πιθανό, αλλά και απίθανο στόχο.

Εξαιτίας της πολύ δύσκολης κατάστασης, αλλά και του διαύλου επικοινωνίας που υπάρχει μεταξύ των ρωσικών μυστικών υπηρεσιών και των αντίστοιχων αμερικανικών υπηρεσιών, ύστερα από το τρομοκρατικό χτύπημα της Βοστόνης, η χθεσινή ανακοίνωση του ρωσικού ΥΠΕΞ, ήταν σε εντελώς διαφορετικό κλίμα από παλαιότερες που εξέδιδε ύστερα από ανάλογα τρομοκρατικά χτυπήματα στη Ρωσία.

Πηγή: e-net.gr, skai.gr

Λυμπερίδου Στέλλα

In July 1937 a Jewish emigre from Nazi Germany became the first female war photographer to die on assignment. At the age of 26, Gerda Taro was just starting to make a name for herself and had already helped launch the career of the young Robert Capa.

Gerda Taro spent the last day of her life in the trenches of Brunete, west of Madrid, holed up with Republican fighters.

It was a critical moment in the Spanish Civil War – Gen Franco’s forces had just retaken the town, inflicting heavy losses on the Republicans’ best troops, who were now under fire as they retreated.

As bombs fell and planes strafed the ground with machine-gun fire, Taro kept taking photographs.

She was due to return to France the next day and only left the trenches when she ran out of film, making her way to a nearby town.

Gerda Taro sitting at a typewriter

“She was elated, saying ‘I’ve got these fantastic photographs, I’ve got champagne, we’re going to have a party,'” says Jane Rogoyska, author of a new book, Gerda Taro, Inventing Robert Capa.

She jumped onto the running boards of a car transporting wounded soldiers, but it collided with an out-of-control tank and she was crushed. She died in hospital from her injuries early the following morning.

Her photographs from that day, 25 July 1937, were never found.

She had spent the previous year making regular trips to Spain to document the fighting.

“Taro became very emotionally involved in the Spanish Civil War… she was so passionate about the suffering of the Spanish people,” says Rogoyska.

Republican fighters had great respect for her. In her book, Rogoyska quotes the memoirs of Alexander Szurek, an adjutant to a Republican general: “We all loved Gerda very much… Gerda was petite with the charm and beauty of a child. This little girl was brave and the Division admired her for that,” he wrote.

On some previous trips, Taro had been accompanied by her partner, photographer Robert Capa, but on this occasion she travelled without him and fell in with Canadian photographer Ted Allan.

Two men in a building, apparently under attackThe Battle of Brunete, July 1937

Keen to prove herself and get the most dramatic pictures she could, Taro started to put herself in increasingly dangerous situations.

Capa never forgave himself for letting her go without him, though he himself subsequently became known for the saying: “If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.”

“He blamed himself for not being there – he always felt that he had this role of a protector towards her because he felt that she would take too many risks,” says Rogoyska.

He also felt responsible because he had introduced Taro to photography.

Gerda Taro and Robert Capa

The two Jewish emigres had met in Paris three years earlier.

CShe was Gerda Pohorylle, recently arrived from Leipzig, and he was Andre Friedmann – a handsome, disorganised young photographer from Hungary.

Both had fled from persecution and were struggling to get work.

“Their meeting somehow set off a wonderful combination of talents,” says Rogoyska. “He taught her photography and she taught him how to make the best of himself.”

It was hard for foreign photographers to get their pictures into the French press, she says. “They came up with this crazy idea of inventing a very successful, wealthy American photographer who had never been to Europe.” He had only recently arrived, the couple explained, which is why no-one in Paris had heard of him.

“He was going to have this name that sounded a little bit sort of international and glamorous, so they called him Robert Capa,” Rogoyska says.

Two boys standing on the barricadesBarcelona at the outbreak of war, 1936

The plan worked. Friedmann operated under the name Robert Capa and started to get noticed. Taro also took her new name at this time.

When the Spanish Civil War broke out in 1936, the couple seized the chance to raise their professional profiles and, simultaneously, to take part in the struggle against fascism.

Two weeks after fighting began, the couple arrived in Barcelona where they photographed Republican soldiers preparing to go to the front.

They went on to travel hundreds of kilometres through Republican territory to Aragon, Madrid and Toledo and then south to the front-line near Cordoba.

Their work was well received back in Paris, where newspapers were keen to publish photographs that would support the Republican cause.

Refugee familyRefugees from Malaga in Almeria, 1937

Taro started to develop her own style and managed to carve out this career, establishing herself as a photographer in a very brief space of time, says Rogoyska.

Today, Capa’s name is internationally recognised, but until recently Taro was largely forgotten.

“Given the historical circumstances it’s not really surprising that Gerda’s achievements faded,” says Kate Brooks, an American photojournalist who has worked in conflict zones in Afghanistan and Iraq.

She puts it down to “the fact of World War Two, because of the fact that her family died in the Holocaust and that basically with Capa’s death [in 1954] no-one was left to preserve the memory of her work.”

Wounded soldier with bandaged headRepublican soldiers on the Segovia front, 1937

Brooks only became aware of Taro a few years ago, after 4,500 negatives belonging to Capa, Taro and fellow photographer Chim, turned up in Mexico.

Capa tried, and failed, to smuggle the pictures out of France in 1939 – instead they ended up with the Mexican ambassador, Gen Francisco Aguilar Gonzales, who eventually took them home and forgot about them.

The negatives sat in boxes in Mexico, untouched for half a century. After Gen Aguilar and his wife died, the photographs were passed on to a relative, Mexican filmmaker Benjamin Tarver.


Trailblazers on the front line

Martha Gellhorn
  • Margaret Bourke-White was the first woman photographer attached to US troops and survived a torpedo attack on a ship in WW2
  • Reporter Martha Gellhorn (above) pretended to be a stretcher bearer and hid in the toilet of a hospital ship going to Normandy
  • Marie Colvin was killed in 2012 in Homs as the Syrian army intensified attacks on the opposition

When Tarver realised what he had inherited, he told a professor in New York, who in turn got in touch with the city’s International Center of Photography (ICP) – founded by Capa’s brother, Cornell.

Cornell Capa felt the pictures belonged with the rest of the Capa and Taro archives but Tarver failed to answer his letters.

That was in 1995, and it wasn’t until 2007 that negotiations finally took place resulting in Tarver giving what had become known as the Mexican Suitcase to the ICP.

Three years later the organisation put on an exhibition of the long lost photographs.

“Anyone who is covering war at any point in time is basically putting their life at risk by getting close to what’s happening,” says Brooks, but she can understand what motivated Taro.

“The purpose in doing photography, and or filmmaking, is in documenting and having a record of what is happening,” she says.

“I think it’s really quite tragic that beyond dying so young, we didn’t have an opportunity to see how her work as a photographer would develop.”

By Alison GeeBBC World Service

27 December 2013 Last updated at 00:30 GMT

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-25108104

Serbia’s Srdja Popovic is known by many as a leading architect of regime changes in Eastern Europe and elsewhere since the late-1990s, and as one of the co-founders of Otpor!, the U.S.-funded Serbian activist group which overthrew Slobodan Milošević in 2000.

Lesser known, an exclusive Occupy.com investigation reveals that Popovic and the Otpor! offshoot CANVAS (Centre for Applied Nonviolent Action and Strategies) have also maintained close ties with a Goldman Sachs executive and the private intelligence firm Stratfor (Strategic Forecasting, Inc.), as well as the U.S. government. Popovic’s wife also worked at Stratfor for a year.

These revelations come in the aftermath of thousands of new emails released by Wikileaks’ “Global Intelligence Files.” The emails reveal Popovic worked closely with Stratfor, an Austin, Texas-based private firm that gathers intelligence on geopolitical events and activists for clients ranging from the American Petroleum Institute and Archer Daniels Midland to Dow Chemical, Duke Energy, Northrop Grumman, Intel and Coca-Cola.

Referred to in emails under the moniker “SR501,” Popovic was first approached by Stratfor in 2007 to give a lecture in the firm’s office about events transpiring in Eastern Europe, according to a Stratfor source who asked to remain confidential for this story.

In one of the emails, Popovic forwarded information about activists harmed or killed by the U.S.-armed Bahraini government, obtained from the Bahrain Center for Human Rights during the regime’s crackdown on pro-democracy activists in fall 2011. Popovic also penned a blueprint for Stratfor on how to unseat the now-deceased Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez in September 2010.

Stratfor’s Global Activist Connector

Using his celebrated activist status, Popovic opened many doors for Stratfor to meet with activists globally. In turn, the information Stratfor intended to gain from Popovic’s contacts would serve as “actionable intelligence” — the firm billed itself as a “Shadow CIA” — for its corporate clients.

Popovic passed information to Stratfor about on-the-ground activist events in countries around the world, ranging from the PhilippinesLibyaTunisiaVietnamIranAzerbaijanEgyptTibetZimbabwePoland and BelarusGeorgiaBahrainVenezuela and Malaysia. Often, the emails reveal, Popovic passed on the information to Stratfor without the consent of the activists and likely without the activists ever knowing that their emails were being shuttled to the private security firm.

In the U.S., this investigation’s co-author, Carl Gibson (representing US Uncut), and the Yes Men’s Andy Bichlbaum had a meeting with Popovic shortly after their two respective groups used a media hoax to play a prank on General Electric, ridiculing the company over its non-payment of U.S. taxes.

The pair gave Popovic information about both groups’ plans for the coming year and news later came out that Stratfor closely monitored the Yes Men’s activities. (The below photograph taken by Bichlbaum in April 2011 shows Popovic (L) and US Uncut’s Carl Gibson.)

During the Arab Spring, in Egypt in January 2011, Popovic received an interview invitation for an appearance on CNN. The first people he turned to for talking points were Stratfor employees, who provided him with five talking points to lead with.

Stratfor said Popovic’s main use for the firm was his vast array of grassroots activist contacts around the world.

“A little reminder that the main utility in this contact is his ability to connect us to the troublemakers around the world that he is in touch with. His own ability to discern situation on the ground may be limited, he mainly has initial contact with an asset and then lets them do their own thing,” reads a May 2010 email written by former Stratfor Eurasia Analyst Marko Papic. “He does himself have information that may be useful from time to time. But, the idea is to gather a network of contacts through CANVAS, contacts that we can then contact independently.”

Popovic was so well-received by Stratfor that he even got his wife, Marijah, a job there. She worked for a year from March 2010 through March 2011 as the weekend open source intelligence analyst at Stratfor. The other candidate for the job, Jelena Tancic, also worked for CANVAS.

“The Canvas guy [Popovic] is a friend/source [for Stratfor], and recommended her to us,” Stratfor’s Vice President of Analysis Scott Stewart said in a March 2010 email, leaving out that the two were dating at the time.

Popovic and his wife grew so close to Stratfor, in fact, that Popovic invited numerous members of the Stratfor staff to their wedding in Belgrade, Serbia.

Helping Stratfor Manufacture Revolutions

Stratfor saw Popovic’s main value not only as a source for intelligence on global revolutionary and activist movements, but also as someone who, if needed, could help overthrow leaders of countries hostile to U.S. geopolitical and financial interests. So useful was Popovic to Stratfor that the firm gave him a free subscription, dubbed “legit sources we use all the time as a company” by Papic.

In a June 2011 email, Papic referred to Popovic as a “great friend” of his and described him as a “Serb activist who travels the world fomenting revolution.”

“They…basically go around the world trying to topple dictators and autocratic governments (ones that U.S. does not like ;),” Papic says in one email. Replying to a follow up to that email, he states, “They just go and set up shop in a country and try to bring the government down. When used properly, more powerful than an aircraft carrier battle group.”

In response to the “aircraft battle group” email, Stratfor Vice President of Intelligence Fred Burton sardonically said that perhaps they could be sent into Iran. Emails also reveal Popovic served as an information source intermediary for on-the-ground activists in Iran, also informing Stratfor of the funding struggle for “democracy programs” there, as the U.S. government pushed a “soft power” agenda.

Another March 2010 email from Stewart to Burton said that CANVAS was “trying to get rid of Chavez,” referring to the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. In 2007, CANVAS trained activists to overthrow Chavez.

“If I remember correctly, we use hushmail communication to contact him regarding Venezuela due to the sensitivity of using a revolutionary NGO as a source considering we have clients who operate in country,” Papic said in a January 2011 email of Popovic.

Stratfor grew so enamored of CANVAS’s ability to foment regime change abroad that it invited Popovic to its Austin headquarters in 2010 to give seminars on the subject, and paid for his trip there.

CANVAS’s Goldman Sachs Cash

One of CANVAS’s major allies is Muneer Satter, a former Goldman Sachs executive who stepped down from that position in June 2012and now owns Satter Investment Management LLC. Stratfor CEO Shea Morenz worked for ten years at Goldman Sachs as well, where he served as Managing Director in the Investment Management Division and Region Head for Private Wealth Management for the Southwest Region.

Satter is meanwhile a major funder of the Republican Party, giving over $300,000 to Karl Rove’s Super PAC Crossroads GPS before the 2012 election, and another $100,000 to the Republican Governors Association in the first half of 2013 prior to the 2014 mid-term elections.

Living in a massive, $9.5 million mansion in Chicago’s North Shore suburb of Lake Michigan, Muneer also gave $50,000 toward President Obama’s inaugural fund in 2009.

When it came time to connect Muneer with the global intelligence firm, Popovic served as the middle man introducing Satter to Stratfor Chairman George Friedman.

“Whenever I want to understand the details behind world events, I turn to Stratfor,” reads an endorsement from Satter on Stratfor’s website. “They have the most detailed and insightful analysis of world affairs and are miles ahead of mainstream media.”

Otpor!: A Counter-History

To understand how Popovic came to aide Stratfor in its intelligence-gathering efforts, it’s crucial to examine Otpor! and CANVAS critically. A close examination demonstrates that Popovic was a natural choice to be a Stratfor informant and close advisor.

Often valorized by grassroots activists and Western media, there was far more to the “Bulldozer Revolution” that led to the overthrow of Milošević and subsequent Eastern European regimes than meets the eye.

“In principle, [Serbia] was an overt operation, funded by congressional appropriations of around $10 million for fiscal 1999 and $31 million for 2000. Some Americans involved in the anti-Milosevic effort said they were aware of CIA activity at the fringes of the campaign, but had trouble finding out what the agency was up to,” explained a 2000 investigative piece appearing in The Washington Post.

“The lead role was taken by the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development, the government’s foreign assistance agency, which channeled the funds through commercial contractors and nonprofit groups such as NDI and its Republican counterpart, the International Republican Institute (IRI).”

Papic’s statement about CANVAS being “more powerful than an aircraft carrier” wasn’t mere hyperbole, but was based on the Otpor! Serbia experience in the late-1990s.

“In fact between 1997 and 2000 the National Endowment for Democracy and US government may have accomplished what NATO’s 37,000 bombing sorties had been unable to do: oust Milosevic, replace him with their favoured candidate Vojislav Kostunica and promote a neoliberal vision for Serbia,” independent scholar Michael Barker wrote for Z Magazine. “In much the same way as corporate front groups and astroturf groups recruit genuinely committed supporters, strategically useful social movements can potentially dominate civil society when provided with the right resources (massive financial and professional backing).”

Otpor! was so successful that it was ushered into Ukraine to help manufacture regime change there in 2004, using the template applied originally in Serbia with $65 million in cash from the U.S. government.

“We trained them in how to set up an organization, how to open local chapters, how to create a ‘brand,’ how to create a logo, symbols, and key messages,” an Otpor! activist told U.S.-funded media outlet Radio Free Europe-Radio Liberty. “We trained them in how to identify the key weaknesses in society and what people’s most pressing problems were—what might be a motivating factor for people, and above all young people, to go to the ballot box and in this way shape their own destiny.”

The overthrow of Milošević was accompanied by U.S.-funding for the creation of a robust media apparatus in Serbia, and Popovic’s wife worked at one of the U.S.-funded radio and TV outlets as a journalist and anchor B92 from 2004-2009.

“By helping Radio B92 and linking it with a network of radio stations (ANEM), international assistance undermined the regime’s direct and indirect control over news and information,” a January 2004 policy paper released by USAID explained. “In Serbia, independent media supported by USAID and other international donors facilitated the regime change.”

Critics point out that what happened in Eastern Europe was regime change, not revolution in any real sense of the term.

“[They] were not revolutions at all; actually, they were little more than intra-elite power transfers,’” Portland State University Professor of Urban Studies and Planning, Gerald Sussman, explained in his book, “Branded Democracy: U.S. Regime Change in Post-Soviet Eastern Europe.”

“Modern tactics of electioneering were employed to cast regime change as populist, which took advantage of the unstable and vulnerable situations in those regions following the breakup of the Soviet Union,” he wrote.

Given Otpor!’s ties to powerful factions in the U.S. government, perhaps it’s unsurprising that Popovic felt comfortable giving a lecture to the Air Force Academy in May 2010, and attending a National Security Council meeting in December 2009.

 

A powerful individual who lobbied the U.S. government to give money to CANVAS early on was Michael McFaul, the current U.S. Ambassador to Russia for the State Department and someone who “worked closely with” Popovic while serving as a Senior Fellow at theright-wing Hoover Institution at Stanford University.

Critics Chime In, Popovic Responds

Maryam Alkhawaja, director of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, said she had known Popovic for several years as an activist and had no knowledge of his outside relationships before the Wikileaks release of Stratfor emails.

“Srdja is someone I’ve met more than once. He was very supportive of the Bahrain revolution, supportive of the human rights fight,” Alkhawaja said in a phone interview. “When he gave me their information, that’s what surprised me the most.”

Alkhawaja said that at the time she wasn’t aware of what kind of firm Stratfor was, but she became immediately suspicious after reading Stratfor’s questions to her. She never corresponded with Stratfor due to what she felt was the suspicious nature of the emails coming from the firm.

“It was a series of really weird intelligence agency-like questions, given that they knew I was working in a human rights group. They were asking questions like, who’s funding the party coalition, how many members do they have, questions that even I didn’t know the answers to,” she said. “The fact that they asked questions like that, made me question the motive behind the email I received. Thats why I never responded.”

“Whenever we get emails like that or were contacted by people who seemed very interested in asking intelligence agency-like questions, we usually block them, because we know they probably work for the government,” Alkhawaja continued. “Journalists know the kind of work we do so they wouldn’t ask those questions in the first place. I just found the email very weird and thats why I actually never responded.”

In a Skype interview, one of Otpor!’s co-founders, who left the movement and asked to maintain his confidentiality, said his primary concern from the Wikileaks emails was that Popovic was giving out activists’ information to a third party without their prior consent.

An interview with Popovic sang a different tune about CANVAS. He stated, “We definitely wouldn’t jeopardize any of our activists’ safety, so we always follow their lead and never expose them to anybody without their consent.”

Popovic also said CANVAS would speak to anyone and everyone—without any discrimination—about nonviolent direct action.

“CANVAS will present anywhere — to those committed to activism and nonviolent struggle, but also to those who still live in the Cold War era and think that tanks and planes and nukes shape the world, not the common people leading popular movements,” he said.

“If we can persuade any decision maker in the world, in Washington, Kremlin, Tel Aviv or Damascus that it is nonviolent struggle that they should embrace and respect – not foreign military intervention, or oppression over own population – we would do that.”

Yet, given Popovic’s track-record—and specifically, who buttered his bread during the long professional career he pursued in activism—critics say Popovic fit like a glove at Stratfor.

“A group of Serbs cannot lead a protest movement anywhere outside Serbia, but his techniques are nonetheless instrumental in helping achieve certain political aims,” Professor Sussman said in an interview. “He also serves as an intelligence gatherer in the process—of use to private and state intelligence agencies. That’s what Stratfor saw as his use.”

– See more at: http://www.occupy.com/article/exposed-globally-renowned-activist-collaborated-intelligence-firm-stratfor#sthash.8EIyWh7M.dpuf

Πανηγυρισμοί ή προβληματισμοί; Τι από όλα πρέπει να συνοδεύει την υλοποίηση της κατασκευής του αγωγού TAP, του κύριου φορέα παροχής φυσικού αερίου της Ευρώπης, ο οποίος θα διέρχεται κυρίως μέσω Ελλάδας;

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Όπως όλα τα μεγάλα ζητήματα που άπτονται οικονομικά, γεωπολιτικά, αλλά και κοινωνικά ζητήματα, δεν έχουν μια μονοσήμαντη απάντηση. Σε αυτή την περίπτωση η ειρηνευτική δημοσιογραφία, μπορεί να θέσει ορισμένους προβληματισμούς, χωρίς να αφορίζει ή να αποθεώνει, συγκεράζοντας κατά το δυνατόν αντικρουόμενες απόψεις ή απομονώνοντας ακραίες αντιλήψεις. Read More