Safespacing AF (thoughts on Jonathan Pie)

Dear Mr. Pie. I realise that in writing this I’m addressing a fictional character or at the very least an on-stage persona, but since this is the post-truth era, what difference does it make, right?

Angry Jonathan Pie is Angry (source)

In your post-US elections video (below) you want the audience (in this case, me) to engage you. So I am. And while I enjoyed your delivery I should probably start by calling it what – in my opinion at least – it is. A very clickable load of bullshit. Well, not all of it, you make some very good points but on the whole it’s not unlike the Hillary Clinton campaign. Well-produced, highly compressed hot air. Not unlike this blog, which is why I’d like to think I can relate. Swear words included. So here goes.

First of all – Bernie Sanders? Why wasn’t he on the ticket? Because he lost the fucking primary, that’s why. I mean for all the fire of the Sandernistas and all the talk of the revolution the guy lost the vote by every measure. And if Hillary is such a shit candidate (and you’re right, she should have done better) and can still get more votes than Bernie…. well, you do the math.

Continue reading Safespacing AF (thoughts on Jonathan Pie)

Edward Snowden: Pics Or It Didn’t Happen

Last Saturday, Delo daily ran a front-page story by its Moscow correspondent Polona Frelih about NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden‘s meet-up with Russian human rights organisations. The catch: she took part in the meet, snapping some pictures in the process. Almost immediately, all hell broke loose here in Slovenia, mostly on account of her taking pics of the USA‘s most wanted fugitive despite his explicit request not to do so, but also on account of going into the meet under false pretext (she was assumed to be a member of a human rights NGO and did not disclose she was a journo) as well as some shameless self-promotion over her getting the scoop. To be blunt, she was accused of making the story about her and not about Snowden. While understandable, in pengovsky’s opinion most of these arguments are flawed, so let us work our way out of this conundrum.

Edward Snowden days ago at Moscow Šeremetjevo (photo by Polona Frelih/Delo)

Me, myself and I.

This is probably the point where Frelih made quite a few blunders. Pengovsky never met her, let alone knows her personally, but her responses (mostly via Twitter) after being second-guessed by many, came across curt and sometimes arrogant. Also, the fact that Delo went from a story about the meet to a background story within a day or so shows, that there was either fairly little additional content available and they were milking it for what it was worth and beyond, or everybody was pleased with themselves as punch and saw little need to do any follow-up and spin-off stories.

My guess is that we’re talking about combination of both. Frelih has turned up some good pieces over the past few years, presenting the side of Russia we don’t usually read about. Including youth boot camps, neo-nazi raids against migrant workers and homophobia. On the other hand, a correspondent is more or less on his/her own while on assignment and has few resources at disposal. And when three thousand journalists hang around Moscow Šeremetjevo airport, hoping to catch a glimpse of Edward Snowden was last seen three weeks ago in Hong Kong and you’re the only one who gets to see him, I think a little pride is justifiable, no? But then again: there’s pride and then there’s gloating.

Apparently, she said that she wanted to help him one way or another and that too was seen as pretentious. Maybe, but here’s the thing: Snowden was meeting Russian human rights NGOs, which in turn were about to become his only mouthpiece save for Wikileaks. Newsmedia would be forced to take whatever they say for granted without any possibility to corroborate. Therefore, in some curious way it was both in Snowden’s as well as in public’s best interest for a journo to be present, because she was the check-and-balance to whatever the NGOs were about to say.

Because that’s what journos (supposedly) do. Act in the public interest. To many, Snowden is a hero. The whistleblower who told the world what most of us suspected all along. This cuts him some serious slack with a lot of people who are keen to take whatever he says (or is said in his name) without even a pinch of salt. But it is one thing to hear and see him say things in person, quite another to read a Wikileaks press release. He or the people around him cannot be the only ones who decide the agenda on this issue. This is what Julian Assange learned the hard way. When individual Wikileaks Cables were being investigated and corroborated by The Guardian, NYT and the rest of the newspapers, Assange lost patience and just uploaded it all. But the public interest is not served best with raw data. These need to be checked for relevance, contextualised and presented in a digestible manner. In this day and age, this includes pictures.

Pics or it didn’t happen!

Frelih said she needed to show the world that Snowden was indeed alive and well and at the airport, which is why she took the pics, despite being told not to. But what she really needed was to prove to the world she was really there. This is where she took most flak: why take pictures when there was a no-photo edict out? Well, if they really wanted to prevent photos to be taken, the organisers of the meet would confiscate smartphones upon entry. Then there was the “facial recognition” argument, postulated by Snowden himself saying that “the more he is photographed, the less secure he is”. Call me silly, but that’s kinda weird coming from a NSA contractor. I’d imagine they’ve every possible detail of Edward Snowden recorded and stored somewhere, including a DNA sample. If they don’t then the US intelligence community really are a bunch of fuckwits.

But let’s assume they’re not. Let’s assume they were taken by surprise and are now committing every resource to make this guy stop what he’s doing. The only thing that protects Snowden right now is continuous media exposure. The moment the media lose interest, he becomes damaged goods and finds himself on the first plane either to the US or to Hong Kong, back from where he came. You see, Russia ain’t exactly a democratic place. Not by Central European standards, anyhow. And the very fact that Snowden was allowed to remain in Šeremetjevo transit zone shows that Russkies are playing a game of their own. They are, in fact, using him. Transit zone is still Russian territory and authorities there need exactly five minutes to drum-up a charge and have him deported (travelling without documents, health hazard, loitering, take your pick). That they don’t means they’ve got more to gain from him being there than gone. Yes, democracy needs Edward Snowden. But Edward Snowden needs the media. And media are pictures, too.

False flag

Then there’s a case of her working under cover. A risky move, to be sure. If pengovsky’s understanding is correct, she didn’t exactly fake her identity, but was rather mistaken for a proper NGO member and she did nothing to change the perception. In fact, there’s a journalistic code of ethics in Slovenia which prohibits exactly these kinds of tricks. But in my opinion, this case falls outside normal scope of journalistic work. This was not faking an identity to find out the state of the royal pregnancy. This is arguably the single most important leak of the decade and usual rules do not apply. This was demonstrated by the US when they force-landed-by-proxy the presidential plane of Bolivian leader Evo Morales thinking Snowden was on board. This was also demonstrated by Russia, intently looking the other way while a person without a valid passport is walking around one of its airports. And it was demonstrated by Snowden himself, when he threw everything he had to the wind and did what he felt was right.

While not nearly as dramatic or pivotal, Frelih did something along those lines. She did what she believed was right and risked burning her contacts to achieve that. Indeed, I wouldn’t be surprised if as a result she finds out Russian NGOs unwilling to talk to her. Since she also gained both notoriety and fame, she will have a hard(er) time passing as a lowly reporter just doing her job. But that is what Polona Frelih was doing. Her job. There are limits to what a correspondent can do. Frelih probably has neither the resources nor in-depth knowledge to write-up a piece on e-surveillance. Delo’s IT desk should be doing that, despite the fact that the US probably thinks Slovenian secret service is a joke ever since Janez Janša blew the cover off a joint SOVA/BND operation and that the Americans get more info on Slovenia directly from their sources then they get by wire-tapping. The fact Delo didn’t write-up anything remotely similar speaks volumes.

But what Frelih can do, is to report about what Edward Snowden is doing in Moscow. Which is exactly what she did. Which is why pengovsky still believes congratulations are in order (yes, there was a typo in there). Just don’t let it get into your head 😉


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Slovenia To Get It’s Very Own Guantanamo Detainee

Gitmo, Big O, and Lil’ B. (source and source)

Just as detailed in the now-infamous Wikileaks cable, Slovene PM Borut Pahor and US President Barack Obama discussed the possibility of Slovenia taking in a Gitmo detainee. The discussion apparently bore fruit as the government is mulling changes to the Aliens Act, expanding the possibilities of allowing temporary settlement of individuals for “political, cultural, economic and other reasons”. Political being the operative word, obviously.

Just as obviously, the possibility of a Gitmo detainee in Slovenia raised hair on the backs of defenders of all things Slovenian. Things like “al-Qaida in Slovenia” were being said with some people practically expecting a pair of 757s being parked into the Twin Towers of Nova Ljubljanska Banka across the street from the parliament and similar bullshit.

That resettlement of a Gitmo detainee is closely connected to the general state of Slovenia- US relations is no secret. At first glance it can be considered as a good-will/kiss-up gesture by Prime Minister Borut Pahor to President Barack Obama. After all, the US manhandled Croatia into signing the Arbitration Agreement with Slovenia and is the one player which decides how much clout Slovenia can have in the Balkans. Not to mention the fact that Slovenia is wooing US investors big time.

The fact that recent exploits of Slovenian economic diplomacy in the Arab and North African world have, for the time being at least, turned into desert dust since dictatorships of the area are being revolutionised, only adds to the necessity of being chums with people who still have money.

But I digress. The point is that both Slovenian government and the US Ambassador to Slovenia Joseph Mussomelli are bending over backwards to point out how this is a humanitarian gesture on Slovenian part and how we are helping out our American buddies to clean up this big pile of human rights abuse they’ve accumulated on their door step and with which they would have nothing to do any more, thank you very much.

If this really were the case, then Slovenia would be quite right to flip the bird to Washington, tell the Americans to fuck off and sort Gitmo out for themselves. I mean, why is it that US allies all over the world must now take in people who were denied fair trial, presumption of innocence and every other goodie of Habeas Corpus, whereas the US is now playing dumb and continues to promote democracy and human righst al over the world?

However, the case for Slovenia taking in a Gitmo detainee(s) is quite simple. Courtesy of the once-eternal Foreign Minister Dimitrij Rupel Slovenia signed the Vilinius Letter, effectivelly joining the Coalition of the Willing and supported the illegal and unjustified US invasion and occupation of Iraq. Slovenia later sent military and police instructors to that country, further involving itself in the mess of George W. Bush‘s making. It is only fair we contribute in resolving the mess too.

We helped fuck it up. We should also help clean it up.

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Documents Sexed-Up For Dramatic Puroposes

As luck would have it, pengovsky is way busy co-handling The Offspring™ which sort of explains the blogging no-show of the past few days (still, you got the skin and meat :)) But that does not mean things were quiet this side of the Alps. Oh, no… What we had here in the past ten-or-so days was almost worthy of an Austin Powers adventure. Guess who plays Dr. Evil

Janez Janša and Danilo Türk as Dr. Evil and Austin Powers. Shall we shag now or shag later? (photoshop by yours truly)

Remember Operation North? When twenty years after the deed President Danilo Türk awarded a medal to the last socialist interior minister Tomaž Ertl for preventing a Milošević-induced mass rally in Ljubljana in 1989 aimed at overthrowing the reform Communist leadership and installing a pro-Serb hard-liners at the helm of the country? Slightly more than a year ago giving a medal to Ertl (who was, among other things, head of the state secret police) made Janez Janša‘s SDS go apeshit and move to impeach president Türk on the grounds of supporting human rights violations. Janša’s move failed spectacularly but in the whirlwind of half-truths, accusations and conjectures that were the “impeachment case”, a set of questions stood out like a sore thumb: “What was Türk’s connection to Ertl and what did the President know of Ertl’s involvement in acts of international terrorism”

Shaggadelic, baby, yeah!

Fast forward eleven months and SDS starts making noises about how archives of the Slovene branch of SDV (Yugoslav secret service) still remain inaccessible and how this is most unacceptable, undemocratic and (oy vey!) unlawful. It goes on to say that SOVA, the current Slovene secret service, still prevents access to archives of former SDV and by that prevents parliamentary and public oversight of the intelligence services (the pretext being that Igor Omeza, a man of colourful past and high-profile past was denied access to the archives when supposedly researching a story). This apparently pained Janša so much, that he discussed the issue even in a debate on WikiLeaks, where he – in the presence of the new US Ambassador to Slovenia Joseph A. Mussomeli – made a quick argument against releasing the US State Departament cables but then went on a long tirade on why classified SDV archives must be made public in all their ignomy.

And then, a year almost to the day after Türk awarded Ertl with that infamous medal, SDS spectacularly “discovers” documents which supposedly prove that President Türk had detailed knowledge of the 1979 Velikovec (Völkermarkt) bombing in Austrian Carynthia in which three people were injured and which today is widely accepted to have been orchestrated by Slovene branch of SDV or at the very least cooked up by more rabid elements within the service. SDS claimed this directly linked Türk to acts of international terrorism as well as put him firmly in the circle of communist intelligence services. And what worse than an (albeit indirect) accusation that an incumbent president collaborated with communist secrecy service, by extension making either a spy or a snitch.

Enter Exhibit A

President Türk denied any prior or detailed knowledge of the Velikovec bombing. In what was an unusally strong-worded denial (Slovenian only) he bluntly accused Janša’s SDS of manipulation and deceit. Namely, the core of SDS’ case was a diplomatic cable from Yugoslav embassy in Vienna dated almost ten months after the bombing which was a compilation of official an unofficial Austrian responses as well as clippings from Austrian media in relation to the bombing. Recipients of the document included top Party brass and heads of other relevant institutions and committees, including one Danilo Türk, president of the SZDL committee for issues of minorities and diaspora.

At this point it should be noted that in 1979 Danilo Türk was a 26-year-old freshly minted law school graduate who just returned from serving in the army and landed his first job at SZDL (Socialist Union of Working People). The latter was a sort of all-encompassing umbrella organisation for groups and activities which were not strictly sanctioned by the Party, but were needed to be a part of the system to a) maintain the illusion of plurality and b) for the party to keep tabs on them. SZDL was designed to be the intermediary between the Party and the people and as a result, people working with or for SZDL could get away with a whole lot more than those working for the Party. Just to prove my point: the documents which started the JBTZ affair and ultimately began the final push for Slovenian independce were “acquired” by Igor Bavčar (today of Istrabenz infamy) in 1988 while he was working for that same SZDL.

Enter Exibit B

Anyways. Türk denies it and SDS immediately shoots back saying that not only is the President lying but also that it has in its possession a document which proves that Danilo Türk and SDV chief Tomaž Ertl (the one with the medal) go way back and did not meet face-to-face only last year as Türk had claimed during the impeachment proceedings. To back up their claim, they produced another document, a letter by interior secretary Tomaž Ertl from 1982 in which the latter informs the former that the Interior Secretariat is replacing its member of the Türk’s committee.

SDS of course failed to prove either one of their claims. Rather than proving that Türk was a member of the inner circle of the Party/SDV circles, the first set documents proves only that Türk was “privy” to diplomatic cables on the issue of Velikovec ten months after the attack and that information in that particular cable was stale, to say the least. Even more. The list of recipients of the said cable include not only the top Party officials, but people across the institutional spectrum of the socialist system (the Assembly, the SZDL, various committees) which points to the fact that the cable is a cleaned-up “civilian” version of intelligence collected (if there ever was any). In other words, it’s harmless. Secondly, claiming that Türk and Ertl go back thirty years (and again by conjecture trying to establish a link between the President and the inner circles of the SDV) by means of producing a bureaucratic notification is akin to fans claiming to be buddies with Bono of U2 on account of having his autograph. An exaggeration of biblical proportions, that is.

The plot thickens

However, things got even more interesting. First it transpired that SDV documents were sealed by the government of Janez Janša. It turned out to be a classic. First, Janša’s right-wing coalition passed a law transferring all SDV documents to the state archives and aimed at declassifying them. Only then did a special committee take a look at the archives and apparently discovered that some of them are smoking hot. As a result SOVA (Slovene secret service) reclassified parts of documents and Janša’s government set a new release date for them, forty years from now. So, rather than whining about how this government is unlawfully hiding the archives (and at the same time condemning Wikileaks for releasing some other archives), Janša and his party would be better off keeping their mouth shut.

However, this is obviously too much to ask. Releasing supposedly damaging documents has been Janša’s modus operandi for the past 25 years. Indeed, he was sent to prison by the federal army in 1988 for being in possession of a secret army document and after a glorious period during the war of independence in 1991 things only got worse. In 1994, during an attempted coup d’etat, army intelligence service loyal to Janša tried to plant forged documents and use them as pretext to topple the government. The plan backfired and the whole thing ended with Janša’s dismissal as defence minister. After that he made a career of sifting through old archives and publishing them in volumes on end, each and every time claiming to have shed new light on the role of key players of Slovenian independence. Although the documents were either declassified or have at the very least been in the public domain for a very long time, Janša always interpreted them in a way that extolled his role in achieving the independence and portrayed him as a victim of SDV, at the same time diminishing role of others key players, depending on who was his primary enemy at any given time. This time around this appears to be President Türk, who admittedly has little or no direct involvement in achieving the independence but is apparently enough of a problem for Janša to be discredited at all costs. Even if the released documents are forgeries.

Yes. It turns out that the first set of documents wasn’t actually a single set of documents but rather two different batches, sent to two different lists of addressees at two different dates. Indeed, one set (with more details in it) was not addressed to Türk but rather to his predecessor in the SZDL committee. So, in order to implicate Türk in a spy-ring-scandal, SDS published forgeries. If you want to be really lenient, you can call it a document that was “sexed-up for dramatic purposes”. At any rate, the documents thus became irrelevant, while Janša was once again caught lying.

But… Why?

This fuck-up-uncovered might also explain Türk’s strong reaction to Janša’s initial claims. Rumours were circulating for the past few days that Janša’s people took liberties in interpreting what they found in the archives, but few knew just how liberal-an-interpretation they cooked up. Türk apparently knew and it would seem logical for his office to have made inquiries into what exactly were Janša’s people looking for. So, why would the largest opposition party sex documents up in order to substantiate their claims against the president, when they’ve got so much going for them? I mean, SDS is leading the polls, economy is still going down the drain, most people see Janša as the next PM and all he has to do is sit back and enjoy the ride.

Part of it most likely has to do with the fact that Janša will not accept defeat. Danilo Türk’s victory in presidential elections in 2007 was the harbinger of Janša’s electoral defeat a year later. Several of Türk’s moves (not in the least giving a medal to Ertl) were like throwing a gauntlet in Janša’s face. And Türk also stole some much wanted limelight during Slovenian EU presidency, having much more diplomatic clout than Janša and his foreign minister Rupel combined.

Secondly, it has to do with destabilising the country. The largest opposition party seems to have made it its mission to oppose almost every government move and actively try to block and derail any measure which could – even by a long shot – break the current social and economic status quo. This includes calling for referendums virtually on a monthly basis, prolonging the legislative process beyond any acceptable means.

And thirdly, it has to do with creating an atmosphere of distrust, deceit and paralysing fear, where no-one dares do anything for fear of what Janša and his people might dig out on any given person. It is an environment of paranoia Janša thrives in but which is ultimately destructive both to him and the country he wants to lead yet again.

Looks like someone lost their mojo

In short, what was meant to be a sort of political black-ops campaign turned out to be amateur night by people who keep feeding us the same shit over and over again, as if they’re caught in some sort of political Ground-hog day, constantly reliving the same idea over and over, always seeing ghosts and wanting to prove that there is some sort of secret clan of die-hard Communists who run the country, refusing to realise that the entire country is sick and tired of their stale tricks and wants to move forwards. If that is still possible at all.

BTW: As of recent the SDS has a lovely new site in English. It is definitely worth your time every once in a while. The more observant of readers will find in there literary gems by none other than former foreign minister Dimitrij Rupel, but even if that’s not your thing, you can still check the crap pengovsky posts against the sharp and deep analysis of the largest opposition party in Slovenia 😀

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Pahor-Obama: A Very Special Huddle (But Not All That Special)

So, Big O. met Lil’ B. regardless… Yesterday Prime Minister Borut Pahor concluded his visit the United States. This in itself would be of only mild importance had it not been for the infamous Wikileaks cable detailing how Pahor did some diplomatic tit-for-tat and, among other things, told the top ranking US diplomat in Slovenia that this country will consider taking in one Gitmo detainee, but he’d like to speak to President Barack Obama for 20-or-so minutes. And – somewhat surprisingly – did get what he asked for.

Big O. meets Lil’ B. (source: RTV SLO via STA)

Now, fair’s fair and it should be noted that Gitmo and quality-time with the Big O. were only part of a bigger package, much (if not all) of which was discussed with various US players by Slovene delegation which included foreign minister Samuel Žbogar and finance minister Franci Križanič. The fact that the latter was on the scene suggest that preliminary talks with J.P. Morgan over the bank possibly buying a stake in state-owned Nova Ljubljanska banka may actually yield results. Personally, I wouldn’t hold my breath, although it seems that Slovenian delegation mostly got what it came for: pleading a case for US direct investments, American acknowledgement of Slovenia having clout in the Balkans and some face-time with Obama.

Truth be told, this wasn’t an Oval Office meeting. According to the infamous cable Pahor wanted a 20-minute private pow-wow with the US president, but instead got what appears to be a half-hour group huddle in the Roosevelt Room (adjacent to the Oval Office) where the two leaders were accompanied by their entourage.

Furthermore, it must be said that Pahor is not nearly the first Slovene leader to have met a US president. Way back in 1997 Slovenian President Milan Kučan had a private meeting with president Bill Clinton, which according to reports lasted about half an hour and every Slovene President and/or PM sice was either visiting or hosting the President of the United States of America. A year later Cliton was paid a visit by Slovene PM Janez Drnovšek. Then Clinton came to visit Slovenia in 1999 (co-hosted by PM Drnovšek and President Kučan), then we had the legendary Bush – Putin summit in Slovenia only months before 9/11 with Kučan and Drnovšek again playing co-hosts. A year later Drnovšek meets George W. Bush in the Oval office. Two years later, upon entry into NATO, Bush meets with Slovenian PM Tone Rop, whereas two years after that President Bush meets PM Janez Janša, who – again – two years later, in 2008, together with Slovenian president Danilo Türk plays co-host to President Bush while he visited Slovenia on his farewell tour in 2008. And now, two years later, Slovenian PM Borut Pahor visited US President Barack Obama.

Point being that starting with Clinton, Kučan and Drnovšek US presidents regularly met with Slovenian presidents and prime ministers. In this respect yesterday’s meeting is not really so much of a breakthrough as it is a continuation of Slovenia (again) punching above its weight in terms of regional diplomacy. While Slovenian politicos across the board consider themselves specialists on the Balkans issue, fact of the matter is that the moment the US realised that the endgame of Yugoslav wars will be played in Kosovo and took the Kosovar side, Slovenia was slowly but surely sidelined, although Kučan’s and Drnovše’s advice was much sought before the big boys decided to clear things up and finally kicked Milošević’s ass. Slovenia’s “special status” in the Balkans was of course confirmed by the 1999 Clinton visit.

Under Bush the US focused on their war on terror, life, liberty and pursuit of happiness and since at than time Slovenia was still outside NATO looking in, it continued to curry the US favour, often in a less-than-tasteful form (i.e. by co-signing the Vilnius Letter). Fast forward to 2008 and Slovenia has virtually no more clout in the Balkans (economic expansion into the region notwithstanding). Not that we didn’t have information, insight or opinion, it was just that the border dispute with Croatia was becoming an ever bigger mess, often almost on the brink of a shooting war. And if you can’t solve a petty dispute on your border, how can you give advice in the region? But that was solved, courtesy of big case of cojones on the part of PM Pahor and his Croatian counterpart Jadranka Kosor (with a little arm-twisting from Brussels and Washington) and now Slovenia can have a serious go at regional diplomacy once again. And since it is the US which shuffles this particular deck of cards, Slovenia again has to curry their favour, this time in clearing up the human rights mess that is the Guantanamo Detention Camp. Bottom line: although at times it looked more like Slovenia was blowing American dick and a lot of people looked away in disgust, Slovenia always tried whisper into the Americans’ good ear and for the past twelve years it has more or less succeeded.

Having said that, despite heartwarming assurances that Slovenia is an equal partner and all that jazz, it is obvious that yesterday’s meet-up was not a culmination of a long and successful diplomatic streak but a sort of a re-start, which had some good karma to it. However there are things that were conspicuously missing, mostly the fact that Obama did not meet Pahor separately but sort of “invaded” meeting with VP Biden. However, it is plainly obvious that the whole thing was carefully planned, despite a tweet by foreign minister Samuel Žbogar couple of hours before the meeting asking himself whether or not Obama will drop by.

This has all the hallmarks of a diplomacy Pahor-style, where everyone is playing stupid, allowing everyone to get what they wanted. Something like this happened late in 2009 when Bill Clinton came to a Diners event and bored everyone to death for 45 minutes, but refused to meet with Slovene leadership officially, apparently because the State Department will not have him pissing in his wife’s pool. But Pahor being what he is, he engineered a “chance meeting” in downtown Ljubljana. You can imagine the scene: a former US president just happens to be strolling down Čopova Street and the incumbent Slovenian PM by pure chance happens to find himself on that particular street and you’ll never believe whom he met…

The Pahor-Obama huddle is special when viewed through the prism of the Wikileaks cable which caused plenty of embarrassment and produced some very ballsy denials both in Ljubljana as well as Washington. In terms of defying the public outcry which – although largely unwaranted – followed the release of the cable, the meeting is both an achievement as well as a strong commitment of both Slovenia as well as US. However, when viewed on a larger scale of things, it only shows that what we are seeing is a variation of a familiar tune. A pretty good variation, but nothing radically new.

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