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EuroPDB: July 1, 2005

by soj Fri Jul 1st, 2005 at 07:05:33 AM EST

Welcome to the "Euro PDB", a briefing paper on today's events affecting Europe and European interests.

Today's big stories... Britain begins its 6 month tour as president of the EU and outlines its plans.. meanwhile Italy says it knew nothing about the CIA's kidnap plans.. and EU Commission president says the French-British spate could destroy Europe...

Sorry for the delay folks, but my computer has been under a nonstop onslaught of viruses this morning :(

In English

Polish Prime Minister Marek Belka is in Indonesia today for a state visit.

Jim Dougal, the former head of the European Commission's office in Britain says Brussels is a "bureaucratic nightmare":
Mr Dougal writes in the Financial Times that he was “horrified and mystified” by what he found during his seven years “trying to put a human, British face on the operation of the European Commission”, the governing body of the EU.

He says: “It is not just that the Commission fails to explain what the EU is for . . . Its modus operandi displays an outrageous lack of common sense . . . It became intolerable to work within what had come to seem like a bureaucratic nightmare that makes Whitehall look a model of simple efficiency.”

Accusations of overbearing bureaucracy are the hallmark of eurosceptic attacks on the EU but it is rare for a Brussels aficionado to echo those concerns.

In his article, Mr Dougal says: “The Brussels machine has no idea of how it should even begin to sell itself to the British public”. Mr Dougal was hired to brief the Commission on UK affairs and to help improve the British public's understanding of its workings but he describes how he quickly realised his job was impossible.
Meanwhile today marks the official beginning of Britain's six-month tenure as president of the European Union and Foreign Minister Jack Straw outlined Britain's goals:
Mr Straw told the House of Commons that Britain would “work hard to reach an agreement on future financing by the end of the year“ but he warned that any deal on the EU budget would have to point to a “more rational“ financial plan. His comments came just weeks after the failure of the Luxembourg summit to reach agreement on the EU budget.

The foreign secretary said that another key area of concern for the UK presidency was Turkish membership of the EU, acknowledging that the issue was “controversial“ in many parts of Europe. Mr Straw said: “The British government remains strongly committed to Turkey joining the EU.“

The UK's presidency programme includes further talks on enlargement with Romania and Bulgaria, summits with India and China, and work on the Middle East peace process.
But the president of the EU Commission Jose Manuel Barroso, says that the French-British feud could "destroy Europe".

The President of Turkey, Recept Tayyip "Iyayea" Erdogan is in Azerbaijan today on an official state visit.

In other news, there is a report that police in Turkey have killed a "suspected suicide bomber" outside government offices in the capital

Joint Russian-Chinese military exercises, the first in modern history, will be held in August of this year. Nary a peep from the western media...

Macedonia and Greece were in a diplomatic spat as the Macedonian Foreign Ministry website had a link that led to a map of the country showing sections "under Greek occupation". That link has now been removed.

What's the old saying? Never stir up trouble in the Balkans! Sheesh.. I see the government of Greece is strenuously denying new reports that Greek soldiers were involved in the fighting in Srebrenica, Bosnia a decade ago.

Speaking of Bosnia, I see that a coalition of Muslim groups have the shoe to British Foreign Minister Jack Straw's plan for "reconciliation". Notice that even the Guardian continues the smear campaign, saying Srebrenica is the "Worst crime in Europe since the Holocaust".

The president of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, has stated that he supports Uzbekistan's crushing of an uprising in Andizhan/Andijan in May, dismissing "human rights and freedoms".

The United States Navy is in Vladivostok, Russia for joint naval exercises and events which will help build cross-cultural ties.

There is a report that a patient in Ireland may be suffering from a variant of CJD, the human equivalent of "Mad Cow" disease.

The government of Italy denies it knew of the CIA's plan to abduct a man off the streets of Milan to be tortured in Egypt. This is the best article in English on the web about this story.

Germany has donated 12 Bo105 helicopters to the military of Albania.

A company in Denmark has come up with a unique, life-saving device - a "straw" which removes almost all bacteria and viruses, allowing someone to drink pure water from a contaminated source.

Riot police dispersed a protest rally yesterday in Georgia, prompting opposition parties to call for the resignation of Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili. Most of the protestors were wrestlers, upset by the recent arrest of Aleko Davitashvili, the president of the Georgian Wrestling Federation.

Last night 20,000 people marched in the capital of Ireland as part of the "Make Poverty History" campaign, calling on world leaders at next week's G8 summit to cancel debts and equalize trade.

Lech Kaczynski, running for president of Poland from the Law and Justice Party, has rejected the idea of a flat tax rate.

The former Equality Minister and Deputy Prime Minister of Sweden, Margareta Winberg, has stated that gender equality "makes men violent", although she says her comments were taken out of context.

Yupi! In extremely good news for me personally, Ukraine has dropped all visa requirements for American tourists beginning today. Odessa, here I come!

And last but definitely not least, starting today, mothers in Switzerland will be entitled to 14 weeks of paid maternity leave.
Spanish - En castellano

''El problema es conflictivo porque hay una guerra civil en Colombia'', manifestó [el canciller ecuatorianio, Antonio] Parra en declaraciones a Radio Quito y agregó que ``hay una insurgencia, Colombia ha abandonado sus deberes de soberanía en toda la frontera sur (con Ecuador), por ejemplo en la parte amazónica del Putumayo''. - "The problem is contentious because there is a civil war going on in Colombia," said Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Antonio Parra on Radio Quito, adding that "there is an insurgency and Colombia has abandoned its mission to maintain sovreign control of its southern border (with Ecuador), as in the Amazonian region of Putamayo"

Ecuador no intervendrá en el conflicto interno de Colombia porque "sería una locura", dijo el jueves el canciller Antonio Parra Gil. - Ecuador will not intervene in the domestic conflict in Colombia because "it would be pure madness", said [Ecuadorian] Foreign Minister Antonio Parra Gil on Thursday.

La Casa Blanca expresó ayer su oposición a la serie de cinco sellos emitidos por el Servicio Postal Mexicano con la figura del personaje de caricatura Memín Pinguín, con el argumento de que “los estereotipos raciales son ofensivos”. - Yesterday the White House criticized the 5 stamps issued by the Mexican postal service with the figure of "Memin the Penguin", saying that "racial stereotypes are offensive" [read the entire article where the Mexican gov't says it never protested "Speedy Gonzales" cartoons]

El gobierno calificó el jueves como un "acto de buena voluntad" el que Chile haya decidido comenzar en julio el retiro de minas explosivas personales enterradas cerca de la frontera con Bolivia. - On Thursday, the [Bolivian] government applauded the "goodwill gesture" by Chile to begin in July to remove landmines buried on its frontier with Bolivia

Zapatero dice que el país es 'más decente' con la nueva ley de matrimonio homosexual - [Spanish Prime Minister Jose Rodriguez] Zapatero said that the country has become "more decent" now that the law approving homosexual marriage has been passed
Italian - In italiano

Aver creato una sorta di «polizia» parallela nel settore della lotta al terrorismo: questa l' ipotesi di reato che ha portato la Digos della Questura di Genova a compiere nelle prime ore di stamani oltre 25 perquisizioni in nove regioni italiane. Decine di indagati tra appartenenti alle forze dell'ordine. Due arresti.- A kind of "parallel police" anti-terrorism department was created, this is the hypothesis of the Digos (police agency) in Genova, which has 25 investigations ongoing in 9 Italian regions. Dozens of members of security organizations have been indicted and two arrested.

Berlusconi: «Il governo non era informato» Il premier conferma le dichiarazioni di Giovanardi sul caso Abu Omar: «Mai stata autorizzata nessun operazione di questo tipo» - Berlusconi said, "The government was not informed". The Prime Minister confirmed Giovanardi's statement that "no operation of this type was authorized" in reference to the Abu Omar case

La convocazione dell’ambasciatore Usa è un atto dovuto, ma un paradossale e preciso segnale di tensione diplomatica - The American ambassador's met [with the Italian gov't], but it was a paradox in that it signifies diplomatic tensions

Il governo assicura che non ne sapeva nulla, ma qualcuno si chiede se non sia perfino peggio. - The government says it knew nothing [of the Abu Omar kidnapping] but one wonders if the truth might be far worse

"Vinceremo le elezioni. Ne sono assolutamente certo. E faremo una campagna d'attacco nei confronti della sinistra" - We will win the elections. We are absolutely sure of this. And we will open an attack campaign to confront the leftists" (said Berlusconi)

Una pattuglia, composta da paracadutisti italiani e da soldati iracheni, è stata attaccata questa notte a Nassiriya durante una normale attività di presenza sul territorio. - A patrol in Iraq, composed of Italian parachutists and Iraqi soldiers, was attacked last night in Nassirya during a routine patrol
Romanian - În limba româna

Moldova a prezentat propuneri de stabilizare a situatiei in zona de securitate din regiunea transnistreana - Moldova has presented proposals to stabilize the situation along the security zone (next to) Transdniestr

Jurnalista Marie Jeanne Ion a declarat, joi, ca este dispusa la o confruntare cu Omar Hayssam, în dosarul referitor la tinerea ei în captivitate timp de 55 de zile, în Irak, alaturi de Sorin Miscoci si Ovidiu Ohanesian. - On Thursday journalist Marie Jeanne Ion stated that she is ready to take on Omar Hayssam in the (criminal) case concerning her captivity for 55 days in Iraq along with Sorin Miscoci and Ovidiu Ohanesian

Azi e prima zi cand puteti atinge leii noi.. bine ai venit! Reprezentantii BNR sustin ca au pus in circulatie suficiente monede si bancnote incat sa ajunga pentru toata lumea. - Today is the first day when you can get your hands on the new lei (currency).. welcome! Representatives of the National Bank of Romania said they have put enough coins and notes into circulation for the entire country

Cea mai lunga greva generala a feroviarilor din istoria postdecembrista a luat sfarsit ieri la pranz, muncitorii reluandu-si activitatea intrerupta timp de 23 de zile. - The longest railway workers' strike in post-Communist history came to an end yesterday afternoon, with employees returning to work after a 23 day strike [thank god!!!]

Leul greu a parasit cusca la miezul noptii - Leul greu isi face loc in portofelele romanilor - Ultima noapte a milionarilor - These are some of the headlines about the new currency, some of which are quite funny

I hope UK will leave europe a soon as possible, we made a huge mistake to accept them by referendum when it was dires strait for them, Europe helped them, and since they spend their energy to destroy the dream and the project :

The last bullet is to bring (but dont pay for it of course) a non-european country, Turkey, to be sure to kill any European identity and organisation.

Sad Sad Sad

it s really hard to stay polite.

by fredouil (fredouil@gmailgmailgmail.com) on Fri Jul 1st, 2005 at 07:14:15 AM EST
So who do you think should be allowed into Europe? You seem to be against anyone poor, the Brits and anyone not sort-of-Christian.

Who do you think qualifies?

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Jul 1st, 2005 at 12:03:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I just realized my Italian skills really suck... either that or I was too tired and frustrated with the virus thing this morning ;)

My apologies to all you natives out there!


Night and day you can find me Flogging the Simian

by soj on Fri Jul 1st, 2005 at 08:34:04 AM EST
Since the Belgian way of govt is based upon cronyism to the max, something even I, ridiculous American, am aware of, why was Britain surprised?

...not that the EC is all Belgian.

I wonder where GB will fall in all of this, finally. Economically, it would seem to be in their interests to maintain an affiliation with the continent, but their neo-Empirical impulses would seem to affiliate them with the U.S.

MHO is that they would be smart to align with the continent before the U.S. economy, etc. goes the way of Argentina's a decade ago...not that everyone wouldn't be hurt by this, but the Euro would seem to be a safer bet, as would Euro trading partners.

And, most of all, GB has the same definition of the word, "football," surely the greatest indicator of cultural alignment.... :/

by fauxreal on Fri Jul 1st, 2005 at 09:40:22 AM EST
Hey Soj,

I know this isn't immediately helpful, but next time you buy a new computer . . . buy a Mac. Not a single known virus for OS X to date.

Pogo: We have met the enemy, and he is us.

by d52boy on Fri Jul 1st, 2005 at 11:03:57 AM EST
Gee, I wonder why the Greeks continue to insist that Macedonia not be referred to, as, well, Macedonia.
by Upstate NY on Fri Jul 1st, 2005 at 11:35:20 AM EST
Soj, yo u'll have to explain your understanding of the Srebrenica thing to us. I can't assess it at all.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Jul 1st, 2005 at 12:07:06 PM EST
All parties of former Yugoslavia have blood on their hands - Croatians, Bosnians, Serbs and KLA/UKC in Kosovo. No one can put blaim on Dutch peacekeepers who had no heavy armor, just a few troops, no food and supplies and left abandoned by the UN political leadership Akashi and military leadership under UNPROFOR French General Janvier.

The Guardian - "There are only two parties who could and should apologise in Srebrenica - the Serbs and the Dutch," said Tomislav Jakic, foreign policy aide to President Stipe Mesic of Croatia. Dutch peacekeepers stationed in Srebrenica in 1995 have been criticised for abandoning the Muslim enclave to the invading forces of the Bosnian Serb commander, General Ratko Mladic.

When you have trust in the UN International Criminal Tribunal in The Hague, the arrest warrants for General Ratko Mladic and political leader Radovan Karadzic should have been effected by NATO forces in the last 10 years!

UN ICT - President Meron will once again call for the arrest and transfer of Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic. As stated at the UN Security Council earlier this month, the Tribunal will not have fulfilled its historic mission - and it will not close its doors - until Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic have been brought to The Hague and tried before the Tribunal in accordance with the full procedural protections recognized by the ICT jurisprudence.

I will do a follow-up with a Dutch input on Srebrenica.

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'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Fri Jul 1st, 2005 at 01:17:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I should write an entire Diary on this I know but first.. there is no evidence that a massacre occurred in Srebrenica.  Period.

  1. There is a group of people who constantly put forward the thought that there was a Srebrenica massacre and it was the "worst holocaust in Europe since WW2".
  2. That group is the same which obtained the video shown in Serbia and Bosnia last month, showing eight people being executed by a Scorpions unit.  It was horrible and despicable, but not the "worst holocaust in Europe since WW2".
  3. The Scorpions unit was a Croatian Serb unit, not a Serbian Serb unit.
  4. There were many, many incidents of groups of people being slaughtered, including BY both Albanian forces AND by NATO forces as WELL AS Serbian forces.  As Oui says, there's a lot of blood on everyone's hands
  5. Mass graves have been found of both Serbian and Albanian victims

That's the shortest version of Srebrenica.. click on the links in the PDB to read more details of that SPECIFIC INCIDENT.

It was a horrible war perpetrated under illegal pretenses and many horrible things happened, but most important is that Srebrenica was NOT the "worst holocaust in Europe since WW2" or "worst incident of genocide" or anything else.


Night and day you can find me Flogging the Simian

by soj on Fri Jul 1st, 2005 at 01:33:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
was based on false information of mass graves - 10,000 killed - in Kosovo, published under leadership of Bill Clinton. The option was used to get NATO approval of all member states to start retaliation on Serbia. Led also to near confrontation between NATO - read US forces - and Russian forces flown into Pristina airport to prevent a NATO led attack on Serb positions in Kosovo. This confrontation involved General Wesley Clarke, and is by itself worthy to be covered in a diary.

Soj - you are mistaken on the massacre at Srebrenica. I followed it very closely at the time from The Hague. I became convinced in mid-July 1995 of the massacre by Bosnian-Serbs under command of General Ratko Mladic. Within a fort night 7-8,000 Bosnian males were slaughtered and their bodies dumped in mass graves or left in the surrounding woods where the men were shot without provocation as they tried to flee the enclave of Srebrenica. To deny this historic fact is not correct.  I agree it should be placed within the content of the Balkan wars of former Yugoslavia. IMO a conflict of revenge for affairs not settled in the aftermath of Worl War II, just check out the personal family circumstances of Ratko Mladic.

All the facts and evidence of bodies recovered from these graves are minutely detailed by specialists for identification and to be used as evidence in the trials at the UN ICT in The Hague.  

Radislav Krstic (IT-98-33) was originally indicted together with Vinko Pandurevic

The Indictment "Srebrenica"  --  Factual Allegations:
The Amended Indictment dated 27 October 1999, generally alleges that in early July 1995, units of the Drina Corps of the Bosnian Serb Army (VRS) shelled the Srebrenica "safe area" and attacked Dutch-manned United Nations observation posts which were located there. VRS forces subsequently entered Srebrenica.

By 18 July 1995, those forces either expelled or killed most of the members of the Bosnian Muslim population of the Srebrenica enclave. As a result of these actions, the VRS forces virtually eliminated the presence of any Bosnian Muslims in the Srebrenica enclave area, thus continuing an ethnic cleansing campaign which had begun in the spring of 1992.

From October 1994 until 12 July 1995, Radislav Krstic was the Chief of Staff/Deputy Commander of the VRS Drina Corps. He was promoted to the rank of General-Major in June 1995 and assumed command of the Drina Corps on 13 July 1995.

Appeals Judgement: 19 April 2004, sentenced to 35 years' imprisonment.

I can refer you to a scientific, historical document from NIOD in Amsterdam, the institution that got the official order from the Dutch government and PM Wim Kok to do a complete and independent research on Srebrenica. The publication after seven years led to the resignation of the purple administration of Wim Kok and the devastating defeat of the Labor party in May 2002.

Investigation by the Netherlands Institute for War Documentation

The letter of 6 September 1996 from the Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Minister of Defence to the Lower House announced the Governments intention to instruct the Netherlands State Institute for War Documentation (NIOD) to investigate events before, during and after the fall of Srebrenica. The Government attaches great importance to a scholarly historical investigation of this kind.

From Press Summary:  

(10) The tragic nadir of the fall of Srebrenica was the mass killing of thousands of Muslim men by Bosnian Serbian units. A large number of the men were members of the Bosnian Muslim army (ABiH) who had attempted to break out of the enclave to Tuzla with some of the male population during the night of 11 July. The decision to break out and thus to give up further resistance was taken entirely outside the UN and UNPROFOR. The flight to Tuzla and the mass executions which followed, took place entirely out of view of Dutchbat. Suggestions that the Muslims were killed "under the eyes of Dutchbat" are unfounded in relation to this mass slaughter.

(10) The decision on mass executions was most probably made after 11 July when it became clear that the breakout led by the 28th division prevented the handling of affairs that had been planned. No written order has been found. The outbreak was a complete surprise, and it came at a very bad time for the VRS. Along with the already existing hatred, eagerness for revenge and the wish for ethnic cleansing, it was one of the factors that led the Bosnian Serbs to settle accounts harshly with the Muslim population of the enclave. This turned into an organised mass slaughter. It is unlikely that is was planned long in advance with this specific form and scope. It is more plausible to suppose that the Bosnian Serbians had counted on a surrender of the ABiH troops and a deportation of the population from the enclave after 'screening for war criminals' and transfer of the troops to prisoner-of-war camps.

(10) It was precisely in the treatment of the many prisoners that the Bosnian Serbs lost control of themselves. In some places the Muslims were slaughtered like beasts. They included men who had been separated from the women outside the Dutch compound in Potocari at the transfer of the population to Tuzla. That mass murder was the intention is also clear from the fact that, after the prisoners had been taken, no measures were taken to see whether there were 'war criminals' among them, no prisoner-of-war facilities were found, no food or drink were organised, identity cards were destroyed, and no distinction was made between combatants and non-combatants.

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'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Fri Jul 1st, 2005 at 04:46:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I appreciate the documentation, however let's stick to the facts

  1. 8,000 men, most of whom were combatants in an ongoing war, ended up dead or missing
  2. There are no Dutch witnesses to a single death
  3. There was no single "mass" grave, but a multitude of mass graves, containing these men.
  4. There are many mass graves in both Bosnia and Kosovo, containing dead from completely unrelated incidents
  5. All the graves of Srebrenica men combined add up to 3,000 meaning there are 5,000 either missing or unaccounted for - either they're in undiscovered graves or they died ELSEWHERE (or are living elsewhere, potentially)

Does that negate the fact the men of Srebrenica died a horrible death? No.  But that doesn't make it "the worst genocide since WW2" either.

Let's also not forget neither Mladic nor Milosevic has ever been convicted of anything, regardless of how you feel about these men.

I'm not arguing that something horrific didn't happen, I'm saying that it has not been accurately represented for a reason - as part of a propaganda campaign against the Serbian government.


Night and day you can find me Flogging the Simian

by soj on Fri Jul 1st, 2005 at 05:03:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But the president of the EU Commission Jose Manuel Barroso, says that the French-British feud could "destroy Europe".

FM Straw is using tactics of division to re-open negotiations on the difficult agricultural agreements committed by treaty to the year 2013. The failures of Blair and Straw during the past four years will create another upheaval and no result during the British EU presidency. Europe is not an affiliate of the US nor part of the British Commonwealth.

From yesterday's diary -

"To broker a compromise you have to be seen as above the arguments, and the UK is widely seen as negotiating for its own national interest."

Tony Blair today: "Debate about future direction of Europe must be discussed at an informal summit with all 25 leaders this fall".

Jack Straw: "Federal Europe is dead after two no votes on constitution".

Europe is put off by these comments, which are most likely intended for a domestic British audience, not at a start to unite and clear up differences in the EU.

I find these comments astounding, after the EU just finished a major expansion with ten new nations. Under what pretences have these countries been coerced into the EU, no vision on Europe's future?

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'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Fri Jul 1st, 2005 at 12:26:10 PM EST

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