The Macedonian Tendency: January 2005

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Macedonia Strengthens Ties to CIA

I'd rather be a hammer than a nail. This may be a scandal in journalistic circles, but it is a bonus for Macedonia. It worth getting your hands dirty in the cause of banking "brownie points" for future use. Great work Macedonia on the US led war on terror!

Now maybe the CIA can provide Macedonia with useful information on the KLA.

The New York Times > International > Europe > German's Claim of Kidnapping Brings Investigation of U.S. Link

German's Claim of Kidnapping Brings Investigation of U.S. Link

Published: January 9, 2005

MUNICH - On the afternoon of Dec. 31, 2003, Khaled el-Masri was traveling on a tourist bus headed for the Macedonian capital, Skopje, where he was hoping to escape the "holiday pressures" of home life during a weeklong vacation.

When the bus reached the Serbia-Macedonia border, Mr. Masri said, he was asked the usual questions: Where are you going? How long will you be staying? Mr. Masri, a German citizen, did not think much of it, until he realized that the border guards had confiscated his passport.


The bus moved on, but an increasingly panicked Mr. Masri was ordered to stay behind. A few hours later, Mr. Masri, a 41-year-old unemployed car salesman, said he was taken to a small, windowless room and was accused of being a terrorist by three men who were dressed in civilian clothes but carrying pistols.

"They asked a lot of questions - if I have relations with Al Qaeda, Al Haramain, the Islamic Brotherhood," recalled Mr. Masri, who was born in Lebanon. "I kept saying no, but they did not believe me."

It was the first day of what Mr. Masri said would become five months in captivity. In an interview, he said that after being kidnapped by the Macedonian authorities at the border, he was turned over to officials he believed were from the United States. He said they flew him to a prison in Afghanistan, where he said he was shackled, beaten repeatedly, photographed nude, injected with drugs and questioned by interrogators about what they insisted were his ties to Al Qaeda.

He was released without ever being charged with a crime. The German police and prosecutors have been investigating Mr. Masri's allegations since he reported the matter to them last June, two weeks after his return to Germany

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Is Skopje this Bad?

This is a discussion of re-building after a earthquake. One paragraph mention of Skopje in 1963. Is skopje really this bad?

The Globe and Mail: Grappling with a vast ground zero

Too often, ham-fisted and maladroit are the words to describe the contribution of foreigners working their so-called magical designs over devastated communities. Kenzo Tange's skyscraper city imposed during the 1960s on the fine-grained city of Skopje, Macedonia, is one of the all-time calamities of design. Besides its inappropriate cultural response, the design called for housing blocks to be built close enough to fall onto each other, or, in one case, on a daycare centre, in a region with a continued high risk of earthquake activity.

Nortel Fans Want Zafirovski

It is interesting that Zafirovski is still referred to as a native of Macedonia. Maybe Mike (Mihailo) can take some time off and spend a year advising the Macedonian government on industrial policy.

Nortel Fans Want Zafirovski

A year after he was passed over for the top job at Motorola, Zafirovski said Wednesday he would leave the cell-phone giant this month. Though the executive didn't offer any clue to his next step, some observers see a natural fit at troubled Nortel (NT:NYSE - news - research).

No matter where he ends up, the Macedonia native shouldn't have too much trouble finding his next big job, industry analysts say. In addition to the battle stripes he earned at Motorola, Zafirovski logged 24 years at executive talent mill General Electric

"Albanian extremists who were threatening the stability of Macedonia"

Some very interesting information about US ties to Albanian extremists. I wish Seymour Hersh would spend a weekend investigating this issue. Anything Macedonians say is immediately suspect.

New York's Premier Alternative Newspaper. Arts, Music, Food, Movies and Opinion

Last summer, the Bush administration discovered that the KPC was a terrorist organization after all and that it was fueling a terrorist insurgency in neighboring Macedonia. The President signed two decrees depriving "Albanian extremists who were threatening the stability of Macedonia" of all financial or material support. The decrees also barred them from entering the United States. This followed the embarrassing revelation that the U.S. military had facilitated the escape of NLA terrorists holed up in Arcinovo from the Macedonian army. According to Hamburger Abendblatt, "Among the rebels that were withdrawing were 17 ‘instructors’–former US officers that provided military training for the rebels. Not only that: the Macedonian security forces claim that 70 percent of the equipment that the guerrilla fighters took with them are of US production." The "instructors" were almost certainly members of an outfit called Military Professional Resources Incorporated (MPRI). It is filled with former senior U.S. Army personnel and works on contract for the U.S. government. It had trained and directed the Croatian army during Operation Storm, in which something like 300,000 Serbs were driven out of their homes in Krajina. One of the commanders of Operation Storm was an Albanian, Agim Ceku, who also happens to be the chief of the Kosovo Protection Corps.

Sam Vaknin and the Narcissism of Wall Street

Sam Vaknin lives in Skpopje and has written often on Macedonian issues. I really don't know much about the guy, but bellow we have some interesting information

Here is his web site:

New York's Premier Alternative Newspaper. Arts, Music, Food, Movies and Opinion

Dr. Vaknin lives in Skopje, Macedonia. Via email, we discussed what may well be the defining malady of our age.

Sam Vaknin is the world’s leading expert on narcissism. He’s also a narcissist himself. He was diagnosed with the illness in 1996 while serving a prison term in his native Israel. Before his imprisonment on fraud-related charges, Vaknin was an award-winning writer and an accomplished businessman. He is also well-educated, having earned a doctorate in philosophy from Pacific Western University in California.

Bush Likes the company of Macedonian

Powerfull Macedonian lobby at work!

Reality Macedonia : Detroit: Bush Attended Macedonian Kolede Celebration

George W. Bush, the President of U.S.A., climbed down from the stage to shake hands with Svetozar Stameski – Svetle, at the Kolede (Christmas) celebration organized in Detroit, in the area predominantly inhabited by Macedonians.

"By this act Bush bestowed great honor on Stameski, a Macedonian lobbyist and Republican Party member, but this also meant great honor for all Macedonians in attendance," stated for Dnevnik Petko Zafirovski, member of the Macedonian-American National Association.

American President thanked for the support during the presidential elections. Several members of the Association were invited at the meeting, with Stameski as special guest.

Download Kocani Orkestar

Go to to download these tunes from Kocani Orkestar. Salon is the premier online news magazine. Thank you to Salon and journalist Thomas Bartlett. Arts & Entertainment | Turn da music up!: "Turn da music up!

A brilliant remix of 2004's best hip-hop album, drunken elation from a Macedonian brass band and an intriguing tune from a latter-day U2 -- free."

"Cudna Zena," Kocani Orkestar, from "Alone at My Wedding"

The chaotic music made by Macedonian brass band Kocani Orkestar and other similar Gypsy Balkan brass bands, largely exposed to the world through the astonishing films of Emir Kusturica, is, for me, some of the most viscerally emotional in the world -- from frantic, crazed, drunken elation to tearful, almost inexpressibly deep (drunken) sadness. I've found three tracks of theirs for download, through the excellent Belgian label Crammed. "Usti Usti Baba" (free download) and "Mi Bori Sar Korani" (free download) include vocals. I prefer the unadulterated brass experience of "Cudna Zena." Free Download: "Cudna Zena"

Another story of our ex-CIA Friend Lindsay Moran

Lindsay was on CNN twice in two day. she appeared on Anderson Cooper and then on Paula Zahn. Both times she talked about "spy craft" not on Macedonia

Yahoo! News - 'Cover' blows the lid off life in the CIA

But once on the job as a diplomat in Skopje, Macedonia, part of the former Yugoslavia, Moran is vexed to learn that being a spy is less like an episode of Alias and more like The Office. Her newly honed paramilitary skills are unsuited for the work, which mostly entails paying suspect people for dubious state secrets, then returning to the office to file the receipts.

The couple behind the $5-million tsunami donation

The Globe and Mail: The couple behind the $5-million tsunami donation

Large as it is, it comes less than a year after the couple pledged $20-million, spread over 10 years, to War Child Canada, which helps children living in battle zones. In 1998, the Pindoffs gave $5-million to the Red Cross to help people injured by land mines. A few years earlier, they paid to build orphanages and seniors homes in the former Yugoslavia, and to feed 20,000 Bulgarians after the fall of the Soviet Union.

Clearly, the Pindoffs have come to know wealth in the 35 years since they founded the Music World record-store chain.

Before that, they knew only hard work and doing without, and if there were sleepless nights, the causes were closer to home.

Born in Macedonia in 1915, Mr. Pindoff grew up in Bulgaria, the eldest of four siblings. When he was 15, his father, a builder, died in a fall, so he had to quit school and work to support the family.

Monday, January 10, 2005

IWPR Blasts EU

An excellent analysis of EU policies regarding agriculture in the Balkans. I am surprised that IWPR published it. they ususally blame everything on the Balkans, However, since the IWPR is a semi-official US human rights group, it may be just a case of taking a swipe against the EU. I would be surprised if there was any criticism of US policy.

He who pays the piper calls the tunes.

Institute for War and Peace Reporting

The constraints start with quotas set on the import of key agricultural products, such as wine, fish and veal, all of which negatively effect farmers in the western Balkans.

For example, wine is one of Macedonia’s major exports. Its vineyards produce around 1,5 million hectolitres of wine each year and – according to local experts - have the potential to export around 500,000 hectolitres to the EU.

But the potential has not been realised, thanks to an EU annual quota of 300,000 hectolitres from Macedonia.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

MaNGO online More on Sheila Fruman

Found another mention of Sheila Fruman. You remember Shelia was monitoring elections in Macedonia and Ukraine. She had been as assistant to an NDP premier. Do not know if she ever "monitored' the plight of Macedonians in Greece.

MaNGO online: "Sheila Fruman"

“We are happy to support MOST in promoting the Code because it is important that citizens understand the commitment the parties have made to them to conduct the campaign in a way that promotes free and fair democratic elections,” added NDI Country Director Sheila Fruman. “The goal is to have an election that is without fear of violence, coercion or intimidation,” she said. | Article service

This is a year end review this Greek newspaper. Not of much interest with the exception that it notes that only Athens call "its norther neighbor" FYROM.

Milestones and Footnotes

By Nikos Konstandaras - Kathimerini English Edition | Article service

In this new world in which there are few certainties (in which the US, Greece's traditional major ally, is otherwise engaged) any government must deal with plenty of unpredictable situations. Cyprus, and a permanent name for the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (by which only Athens calls its northern neighbor) remain far from closed.