esmaspäev, oktoober 08, 2007

Marko vs. Rene

I never thought I'd live to see the day where IRL's Marko Mihkelson would turn his patriotic aggression on anyone not from the 'neighbor to our East' -- they whose name we dare not speak.

Yet yesterday, today, and tomorrow, Marko's Estonian ire has been fixated on a sexagenarian Dutchman by the name of Rene van der Linden.

The epic backdrop to this never-ending soap opera is that van der Linden, as chairman of PACE, one of the many dull acronyms that make sure Europe is European enough, has gone to Moscow and participated in their ongoing efforts to convince the world that the Estonians are Finno-Ugric barbarians, and, by the way, the human rights abuses in Russia pale in comparison to not being able to vote in Estonian parliamentary elections and holding a humiliatingly colored gray passport.

To add insult to injury, van der Linden came to Tallinn in September to tell them that their naturalization process was going too damn slow and that maybe they should make it a bit easier to get citizenship by, say, letting people born in 1931 be exempt from the language part of the citizenship exam, not just people born in 1930 and up. He also reiterated the red herring that some residents of Estonia cannot vote in municipal elections. It is true there are some in that category, namely me -- a person who hasn't lived here the requisite five years to do it.

Well, Marko has hinted in a previous article that Van der Linden is so Russia friendly because he has business interests there, and so over the past few days he has been backing up his claims by publishing translated notices from Russian business websites covering van der Linden's visits to the Vladimir region of Russia where Noble House Holding -- which he is affiliated with -- has significant investments.

Mihkelson is a respected member of IRL, but he's also lower ranking than Mart Laar or Juhan Parts. I wonder if he could be the front man for a more widely coordinated exposure of van der Linden's conflicts of interest. Or maybe he just likes to stay up late at night in his pajamas, trawling through Russian regional and business websites. Either way, it's non-stop entertainment.

Today Vandy struck back on the PACE's website urging "Marko Mihkelson to stop this slandering". In his public retort, van der Linden stressed that he has not, and never has had, any financial involvement in any company in Russia", he "is not, and never has been, a member of any supervisory or other board of any company having economic interests in Russia", and he "has never received any financial advantage, compensation or payment of any sort in Russia in relation to activities involving Russia.

That claim however does not jive with Noble House Holding's website. Noble House Holding not only declares that it's "your bridge to the Russian market" but that van der Linden is indeed the head of Noble House's supervisory board.

The period of the project realization is 5 years, the volume of investments is about EU 500 million. PACE President Rene van der Linden volunteered to supervise the construction works. It is he who is the head of the supervisory board of Noble House Group.
I wonder how long it will be until they scrub that one clean.

54 kommentaari:

Mait ütles ...

Mihkelson might not be top seed in the overall IRL rankings, but he's definitely one of big players when it comes to foreign policy.

Giustino ütles ...

He is, but I feel like he's more in the position to do damage to van der Linden's credibility than Laar or Parts would. He has a license to attack, while they stand back and look respectable.

It's the same thing in American politics. They send out Howard Dean to kick some ass, and keep Hillary away from the fray.

Kalju ütles ...

I wonder, did you reached the Noble House site directly? I was trying to reach it from several locations earlier today but the browser reported timeout... until I used the anonymous proxy.
I wonder... Estonian IP's are blocked? But it would be much easier to just fix the content under the question.

Did you notice that on the ceremony of foundation laying the Noble House CEO Theodorus Schreurs and the The Netherlands ambassador Jan-Paul Dirkse were present as well. I just wonder, who was Rene presenting there? Netherlands? As a President of PACE?

Mr. Theodorus Schreurs - the CEO of Noble House - claimed earlier today over the phone to the Estonian TV that Rene is not involved in Noble House in any way...

I'm pretty sure that Rene went there only to see "the consecration of the place where the huge industrial site will be erected" and admire "the performance with a prayer song of the Cossak chorus" :-P

Anyhow, Rene's and recently Schröeder's affairs are revealing the Russia's attempts - rather successful ones I might add - to destroy the EU from within. And that's scary... Very scary.

Now, should we quote the Congressman Tom Lantos, chairman of the United States House Committee on Foreign Affairs by calling Mr. René van der Linden "political prostitute" for his recent behavior as well?

nothing is free ütles ...

As soon as you see "can der" before a name you know you're dealing with a political whore. I have a big insecurity complex.

Nothing is Free ütles ...

Europe is hopeless, only America can save you now. A small border incident is all that's needed. Leave the rest to us.

margus ütles ...

Border incident? Isn't there like frequently some kind of incident somewhere in the world with the US military?

And remember - we don't want your society, just your military. I know I'd like to live in a country where public schools actually don't make your kids dumber.

Nothing is Free ütles ...

Margus, why do you hate America?

stockholm slender ütles ...

Well, I think it should be kept in mind that this unpleasant character is a very minor figure in Europe. And he might well be in Russian pay or perhaps simply stupid. Or both. But he does not matter much in real terms. As much as these things are just battles of spin and publicity it might not hurt to have a professional response team and a sophisticated media strategy. I don't know, perhaps there are such things, but sometimes it seems that there might be room for progress. Truth will not prevail by itself in this fallen world...

gaborien ütles ...

Yeah and the site also says:

"PACE President Rene van der Linden VOLUNTEERED to supervise the construction works. It is he who is the head of the supervisory board of Noble House Group.

“I am absolutely sure that the park will serve for the benefit and prosperity of the region. This is the best investment directed to the future”, Rene van der Linden said at the ceremony. “I want to assure you that I love your region and wish you prosperity. For me it’s a great honour and pleasure to be here today”."

It would be SO DELIGHTFUL to have that ceremony in youtube... prostitute busted with the undies down.

margus ütles ...

Margus, why do you hate America?

Can't say that I 'hate' America. Or maybe as much as I 'hate' Europe. There are some things in USA that I am not ok with:

CIA
Bush
Federal Reserve
public schools
public healthcare
affirmative action
political correctness
red tape
tax code
welfare for the rich
religious loonies

Things I don't like in Europe:

socialism doesn't work goddammit
USSR was evil goddammit
stupid bickering
chasing pointless agendas
political correctness
amount of EU law
trying to appease everyone
centralizing Europe in the wrong way

hate? - no.

Raido ütles ...

Let's be real, Marko had no proves.

stockholm slender ütles ...

It would be bit blatant if it would be so easy to trace. There is a surplus of fools at any time, so often you don't even have to resort to bribery. I'm currently reading Holroyd's biography of Shaw and regardless of his (admittedly great) literary merits, what a fool he was when it came to Stalin and communism. In this particular case of course we don't have any meaningful merits on the plus side at all...

Kenn ütles ...

It seems clear that Vander is lying when he says that "he is not, and never has been, a member of any supervisory or other board of any company having economic interests in Russia". Alternatively, the Russian company's webpage may be lying -- but it's difficult to see why Vander is attacking Mihkelson for this.

Giustino ütles ...

Alternatively, the Russian company's webpage may be lying -- but it's difficult to see why Vander is attacking Mihkelson for this.

The website is odd because it tells very little about the company -- who the founders are, what the management team looks like. Most business websites give you that kind of information.

The only excuse I can see is that someone else wrote that article and inaccurately described van der Linden's position and they posted the translated article as good PR.

BUT, they should have known about the PACE-conflict of interest stuff, so they would have removed that bit if it wasn't true.

The way that van der Linden has struck back -- by releasing a personal statement on the PACE website -- is odd as well. I mean this is PACE, it's not the forum for personal bickering between van der Linden and Mihkelson.

So I would suppose that van der Linden really is interested in protecting his reputation here, and therefore Mihkelson's accusations might have some merit for them to be refuted so specifically by him.

Kenn ütles ...

There is another difficult thing here. vdL says in his statement: "this is now the second time I have to reply to allegations brought forward without any proof". Now there seems to be enough proof of what Mihkelson actually said; if vdL were 100% honest, he should concentrate on the information brought out rather than on Mihkelson's personal case.

Nothing is Free ütles ...

sockholm slim:

It is becoming clear to me that the russkies are running the world from behind the scene. How could it have happened? They are not as numerous as the chinks, nor as rich as Americans. It's a combination of petrodollars and a paticular genetic lack of morals. Their whole hive-like nation is a network of psychopaths. They bribe, blackmail, and charm. Yes, charm, for the devil is attractive. How can one possibly fight this hydra?

Unfortunately the limp-wristed cowardly EU cannot fathom a military solution, for that is what is really required. When you have a rapidly spreading cancer, you operate. Only America can help you know. A small border incident is sorely needed here. It would not be provocation, but self-defence. In the meantime, I would stop feeding the russkie military and economic machine by refusing to buy their gas and oil. There are plenty of perfectly adequate replacements. Alas the soft-bodied populace does not wish to put up with even the smallest inconvenience. Baked beans and boiled cabbage are a fantastic source of methane gas.

Let us all be like the Freemen of Dune! Do not let any gas go to waste! Accumulate every cc in giant underground reservoirs, until one day full energy independence from the russkies is achieved. It's not easy, I know. Certain sacrifices in fashion will have to be made. But it has to start somewhere. It has to start sometime. What better place than here? What better time than now?

Raido ütles ...

to kenn:

There was no proofs, only that Linden was supervisor of that company.

Flasher T ütles ...

Dude. I think there are Postimees editors reading your blog. :)

margus ütles ...

EPL too btw.

margus ütles ...

Linden should have just let it go, he is obviously not kosher. The more he protests, the more he raises suspicion.

stockholm slender ütles ...

Höh, excuse my umlauts, mr nothing is free (don't you know, btw, that for example many lunches are free...) - you sound like a parody actually, but in the case you are not, I'm at loss to begin: "military solution", do you mean with Russia - even your average G.W.Bush lover (there are still dozens, maybe even hundreds left) would not go there. An overdose of video games and 24? And perhaps Ayn Rand?

Nothing is Free ütles ...

Ayn Rand is the greatest philosopher of all time. 24 is the best TV show of all time. In my professional opinion, invading russkieland is very doable indeed.

stockholm slender ütles ...

Ok, so you are a parody. Sorry about that, carry on, fight the good fight by ridiculing these crazy right wing extremists!

Kenn ütles ...

2 Raido

This is exactly what vdL denies on his personal message on PACE webpage:
"he is not, and never has been, a member of any supervisory or other board of any company having economic interests in Russia"

So even if Mihkelson proved nothing important (all he said was about vdL's "alleged" interests -- that's really not much but is certainly true), now it's proved that vdL is a liar. (If he really was or is in that supervisory board, of course.)

nipi ütles ...

Russian site clearly states following:

Лучшего союзника в деле привлечения зарубежных инвесторов на площадки будущего индустриального "Владимир-парка" не придумаешь. Председатель ПАСЕ господин Рене ван дер Линден возглавляет наблюдательный совет проекта.

Is this enough or seems that russian news channel is lying?

Blogaddict ütles ...

NIF's lame rants prove that G's little blog has come into the interest of FSB and a case worker has been assigned. Kompromatchik or dicreditor. An agitator. I find it kinda cool.

space_maze ütles ...

Yeah. His English doesn't strike me as particular American. Ja ma ei arva, et poiss räägib liiga hästi eesti keelt. Õige, NIF?

(and also, multiple accounts - some with capitalisation, some sans. Hmm)

Vello P ütles ...

Worry not. Rest assured NIF is merely a disgruntled, ideologically confused web agitant. The mildly, educated version of an obsessive gamer or porn addict.

No disrespect intended toward Giustino's fun blog, but the FSB has bigger fish to fry. There is nothing subversive or threateningly political going on here in this forum (thankfully). What is more, most of the politics and POV's are fairly obvious (Eesti loyalists or Eesti's fellow travelers).

Don't let the Baltic paranoia gene take over and taint conversation here. If you feel like spooking yourself, take a walk down Pagari tänav in Tallinn after midnight and listen for the screams of tortured spirits and lost souls.

Nothing is Free ütles ...

Brothers in the struggle!

It is obvious that there are russkie agent provocateurs among us. I shall work tirelessly to expose these trolls, so help me the spirits of Robert Conquest and Richard Pipes.

We must be vigilant. Watch for strange russkie-like behavior. Nobody in this day and age needs to speak russkie pig-talk. English is enough for me, it's enough for everybody. Beware of anyone referring to russkies as human. It should be your first warning sign. It's a scientific fact that, whilst they used to be human at some point in ancient history, their interbreeding with mongoloids, turkoids and other asiatics no longer entitles them to be called such anymore.

(I have grave doubts about "flasher_t". Alarm bells rang we he mentioned having russkie heritage. I thought he was joking. Then he claimed to read russkie pig-talk. I grew more concerned. I suddenly became aware of his high cephalic index and raven hair. I thought to myself, plenty of saxons have round heads. Ugly, but Aryan nonetheless. All the more useful for battling neanderthals which used to be common in their lands.

Alas he made a fatal mistake. Being most likely a russkie (or a sympathizer), he just could not help himself with that paean to boiled woodchips the russkies call "tea", and their special asiatic way of lapping it from saucers like dogs, sucking on lumps of sugar all the while. (Now you know why all russkies have such terrible teeth). What blunder can we expect next from this hapless 86? A frank admission of his love for wearing flea-invested fur hats made from stray animals? Or that hanging a filthy gaudy synthetic rug on your wall is really a splendid idea?)

Alas, I digress. Watch out for those russkies, there's probably one under your bed right now.

MELNS PULKVEDIS - BLACK COLONEL ütles ...
Autor on selle kommentaari eemaldanud.
Black Colonel ütles ...

NIF is not nashy hooligan and he is definitely not FSB.

We know who he is. His visits here and elsewhere have left to us a trail of bread loafs which leads directly to his identity.

We will deal with him.

NIF:

Never mind Lucas. Never mind flasher t. Never mind Rossiya.

You should lay low and keep off our radar.

We can see you.

Nothing is Free ütles ...

lolz, a nashyist stooge vaunting his forensic skillz. do u even have komputers in russkieland?

Black Colonel ütles ...

You have been politely told once.

Your last emission was all we needed.

Nothing is Free ütles ...

lolz, bring it on russkie! say, are you by any chance related to that ultra-nationalist ruskie servant and betrayer of the fine latvian race Alksnis?

Nothing is Free ütles ...

lolz, you russkies will never get to me. I'll be safe behind the thik walls and student body of Tartu University.

Black Colonel ütles ...

ничтосвободный

Nothing is Free ütles ...

In all honesty, I'm losing interest. I'm off to the apple forums. zune rokz.

Giustino ütles ...

Being most likely a russkie (or a sympathizer), he just could not help himself with that paean to boiled woodchips the russkies call "tea", and their special asiatic way of lapping it from saucers like dogs, sucking on lumps of sugar all the while.

Russian tea is fine. It's the soolapekk that contributing to their population decline.

In Estonia, hapukoor (on everything) has the same effect.

Blogaddict ütles ...

During combat in WWII, flaky weirdos like NIF would have been shot by his own troops so that he'd not foul the general morale. Since this is an information war and all we have for ammo are just words, I do not know how would one perform a mercy killing of a shellshocked comrade to end his maniacal laughter? Any ideas?

Leo ütles ...

2 Bloggadict:

I don't like your metaphors but I know THE answer to your question :P The equivalent of killing in information war is simply IGNORING. Got balls to do it?

space_maze ütles ...

Not just local newspapers have been following this blog ;-)

Austrian newspapers had stories about how much VdL sucks too today

Blogaddict ütles ...

Leo,

FYI - all my metaphors are kosher, they are USDA, FDA and FCC approved.

As for ignoring - so you think it takes balls to "tuima panna"? It probably does, come to think of it.

Nothing is Free ütles ...

Russian tea is fine. It's the soolapekk that contributing to their population decline.

Fine, just don't let one make it for you. All my other points are still valid though. That civilized intelligent appearance may be just a thin veneer. If you look deeply into his blue eyes, you can certainly feel that russkie atavistic mischief. You know what I am talking about?
- I am gonna do it!
- No, you won't!
- Yes, I will!!
- No, you won't!!
- Yes, I will!!
Suddenly the eyes light up with hellish fire, a crazed smile takes over his face... And... He pulls out a filthy fur hat with ear flaps, though having long lost their laces, cocked up; a cheap balalaika with chipping paint. Immediately he proceeds to butt-hump the floor, hollering dirty lymerics about forcing yourself on rich women and then stealing their fur coats. And whatever you do, you just CAN'T STOP HIM WHATEVER YOU DO! The horror.

My suggestion is that you test him. Ply him with vodka. Lots of it. If he starts jabbering about how unfair life has been to him and how wealth redistribution will bring justice to the world, then attempts to start a fight, you've got a positive. The most humane thing to do then would be to put him down.

If on the other hand, he expresses his melancholy by stoically barfing all over your car, and his vigour by absconding the taxi fare, he is one of us and no futher suspicion shall fall on him.

Vello P ütles ...

I hate to burst any bubbles, but I'd hardly call this the frontline of any "information war." It's a mostly interesting, and sometimes heated, forum for discussion about Estonian affairs. Yet describing ourselves with warrior-type metaphors seems self-aggrandizing. Debate is important and this is a great place to engage in it. But the real battles and real ideas are going on in conference halls and boardrooms which are oftentimes never reported on. That is where many of the decisive battles are waged and decisions are made, even before the ceremonial summit of leaders, which have already been carefully scripted and orchestrated by bureacrats and policymakers (the Karl Roves of this world). Those ideas, frameworks and policies are then test-run, unofficially polled and/or reinforced in the Media (capital "M"), where bigtime pundits and academics give their official stamp of approval.

In a forum like this, we're often (with few individual exceptions) reliant on information and POV's that have already been filtered many times over. We ruminate and bluster online, as if we've somehow come into firsthand news or insider prognoses, when in actual fact we're reading the same same accounts on Postimees, EPL, New York Times, Guardian, Le Figaro or Süddeutsche Zeitung that everyone else (who reads/cares) online or on the street has also read.

I would say that, aside from policy-making bureaucrats and military brass, the real frontline warriors are those with INGO's and NGO's who are actually working in different regions or issue areas, on the ground, hands on.

Read some Chomsky. Those in power are happy to let us believe that we average citizens are actually empowered (or distracted by other affairs), so that they can set about doing what they plan on doing.

What we're doing here is (don't misunderstand me) interesting. Yet it is ultimately a spectator sport.

Nothing is Free ütles ...

Dear vello_p,

Even though you are a russkie saboteur and I hate you, thank you for bringing a dollop of reality to his intellectual cul-de-sac of a thread. Not sure about this Chomsky dude. Sounds too conspirotological. I think he wasted his talent by not sticking to linguistics.

This is my last post on this fine blog. Discrediting putinoids on ****.ru is much easier, though somewhat depressing. But someone has to do it.

plasma-jack ütles ...
Autor on selle kommentaari eemaldanud.
Giustino ütles ...

Debate is important and this is a great place to engage in it. But the real battles and real ideas are going on in conference halls and boardrooms which are oftentimes never reported on.

I agree and disagree. We are not information warriors. We are more at the base of the information distribution network.

People hammer through ideas here and debates and then the people that go into those boardrooms (and make those decisions) have perhaps thought through their positions in a different or more thorough way.

Politicians and journalists are people too. In my job I read the message boards for the businesses I write about. There might be interesting kernel of truth in there among all the self-aggrandizement.

Vello P ütles ...

In some rare cases, I'd agree, Giustino - public/media/blog discussions can encourage those in power to reconsider their positions.

Yet on this point I'd say most individuals in power have access to unfiltered information, or are driven by deep-seated interests, that make their positions rather fixed. I would imagine that heavyweight decisionmakers would look on us as an assortment of romantics, nationalists and semi-intellectuals who just don't get how the real world really works. Which is alright. I merely wanted to call it as I see it.

Jens-Olaf ütles ...

Or let's imagine this:
If politicians would know'how the real world really works'.. .

plasma-jack ütles ...

There are no heavyweight decisionmakers in Estonia. Are you implying that Urmas Paet has any other information besides what he sees on CNN? Well, the man sure knows how to hide his intelligence (a very good word), in that case.

Giustino ütles ...

I wouldn't rule Paet out. He goes out to the informal Gimnich meetings with the other FMs and listens to the conversations too. The problem with diplomacy though is that even if you sneeze the wrong way it might turn into a misunderstanding.

No, I'd say the parliamentarian with the unfiltered access is Mart Laar. He's got friends high and low from Jõgevamaa to Jakarta. How he interprets that info is another story.

But if blogs are so banal, then why do Laar (and Mihkelson and Hannes Rumm) have them?

Vello P ütles ...

I did not say that blogs are banal. I also remember describing this one as enjoyable.

Yet they are often vanity projects (Laar & Co., celebrities, hopefuls) or forums for people with common interests to compare notes or find affirmation. Most often what you get is a preacher:choir result with everyone more or less in consensus. There is seldom any need to change minds or open eyes. Except for the odd provocateur and sh** disturber, most individuals agree on the main points and have fun within that zone.

I was not suggesting that politicians know how our real world works. They live in a world of policy, bureaucracy and politics behind the scenes, so they definitely have a more clear idea of what makes politics happen that we would. We are stuck reading media accounts and then speculating about why and how certain politicians, policies and events happen in the ways that they do. That being the case, I would gather that only a rare kind of politician would be interested in broadening his perspective by reading general population POV's. Blogs and online forums (such as delphi) could be useful for PR men and populists in order to tweak their message and play to an audience.

No offence was intended in my comments.

andres k ütles ...

Much as I enjoy blogs (being a reader, and sometimes dabbler, myself), I'm inclined to agree with V. Chomsky's main point is a good one: power doesn't need truth spoken to it, because it already full well knows the truth -- it just sees the truth differently.

Sometimes vanity project, sometimes spectator sport -- quite likely. It's just our disempowered way of going "GRRR!" from the sidelines. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Giustino ütles ...

In the US, blogs and 'bloggish' websites have played a pretty important role, especially in the Democratic Party.

Candidates fear websites like Daily Kos. If you do something to piss them off, your phone number and e-mail will appear on the screen for you to voice your frustration ;)

I would consider bloggers to be like the pamphleteers of the 1760s and 70s. Except it's like everyone has got their own printing press.