Yesterday evening I have finally come back from my week long trip to Switzerland where I barely had the time to bury my mother and go clean up her small apartment. This was probably one of the worst weeks in my life and I wanted to begin by thanking all those of you who have expressed their sympathy for the loss of my mother. Your outpouring of kindness really did touch me even if I simply did not have the time to thank you for it.
I am still jet-lagged and sick with a cold, but there has been a nasty matter which life has dumped upon me which I want to deal with right now before a resume normal blogging (which I scheduled for next Monday, December 7th): the fact that two dishonorable people decided to post the following text on the Internet: (source: http://cirilizovano.blogspot.rs/2015/11/who-is-saker.html)
Who is the Saker?
Almost a year ago to the day, I had the distinct displeasure of meeting the man who calls himself the Saker. Our professional relationship lasted less than a month, for reasons I will outline below. We parted on rancid terms and I swore to him that I would make his identity and ideological shortcomings public. I have waited until now due to milestone events in my own life and because, frankly, I was waiting to see what the loon would come up with next.
As of the end of last year, I had been following the Saker blog for several years to get news of events in Donbass and when I learned he was looking for volunteers for a Serbian sister site, I applied for the job. My original idea was to contribute some translations on an ad hoc basis but Saker had just had a major falling out with the whole Serbian team and sacked the previous team leader, Aleksandar Jovanovic. He described Mr. Jovanovic as ,,a talented translator with paranoid psychotic tendencies”. I didn’t delve too deeply into the dispute at the time (my mistake!) but later I did discover Mr. Jovanovic was quite sane, and rather a nice guy.
Anyway, after a drawing of straws among the few new Serbian volunteers, like myself, Saker himself put me forward as the new leader of the Serbian sister site. He attributed this to our common respect for traditional Slavic values, like respect for the Orthodox church and the military, plus the fact that we communicated well. I think he was also a bit influenced by the fact that I live in Argentina (not far from a cousin of his, actually), that he has family here and some fond childhood memories of holidays with them among the Russian expat community, of which I am an ardent admirer and (to the extent circumstances allow) a fleeting member.
Andrei (for by then we were on a first name basis) encouraged me to form a properly Serbian team and I promptly solicited the assistance of everyone and anyone toward that end. He promised me complete editorial freedom, which I understood to mean that all contributors, myself included, could make the points they felt were most relevant. I was convinced at this time that he was my brother Russian, and this was reenforced during the defection during this period of his French IT guru (who, I discovered subsequently, was also a very nice guy) and the threat of collapse of the entire so-called “Saker community”. At one point (as God is my witness) Andrei was begging me to assume legal ownership of all the domains in the Saker community, which had been left in limbo by Francois. I declined (for technical reasons) and it was then that my husband suggested that the Saker switch to Icelandic servers (where he is currently) to protect the integrity of his sites. You’re welcome, Andrei.
In the meanwhile, the Charlie Hebdo massacre occurred in Paris – a bunch of Muslim fundamentalists strifing the editors and staff of the “tasteless” satirical French paper, and other locales frequented by the Jewish community. For me, taste is primarily a question of education and culture; whereas freedom of speech (and editorial license) is something altogether different, supposedly one of the rights guaranteed by so-called “democracy”. Anyway, the French Saker community broke into two parts – the “I am Charlie” and “I am not Charlie” (and this had nothing to do with the withdrawal of Francois, the IT maestro, although Andrei tried to pretend this was the case). Andrei himself wrote an absolutely repulsive piece entitled “Why I am not Charlie” basically blaming the French paper for lack of refinement (a satirical paper!) and arguing that they had brought the wrath of the followers of Mohammed upon themselves because ,,they chose to provoke Islam, knowing the results this would engender”.
Faithful Serbian follower that I was of my Russian brother Andrei, I translated his article into Serbian but was most unhappy with it. By opportune chance, through a mutual friend, I chanced upon an article by the talented Serbian expat writer Aleksandar Lambros, in which he lambasts (no pun intended) the idiots who were not ,,seeing the connection” between Islamic fundamentalism and the Charlie Hebdo massacre. I have little in common with Mr. Lambros, aside from an admiration for his writing style and intellectual integrity, but I was happy to translate his Serbian into English in order to achieve a sense of balance with respect to Charlie Hebdo. Being neither Charlie nor prepared to massacre satirical staff, I was somewhat in a quandry.
I was gently (and I do emphasize ~ gently ~) reprimanded by my “brother Russian” that although I had complete editorial freedom, this did not extend as far as insulting members of the Muslim community (as the article of Aleksandar Lambros apparently did). I told him (most ungraciously, I admit) to go fuck himself and who was he, after all, to explain to a Serb, 600 years under the Ottoman yoke, the situation with Muslims? His response was that “all Serbs are crazy” (meaning me and Aleksandar Jovanovic, I guess) and that I just didn’t see he was properly respectful of Islam (whose teachings he openly compares with the teachings of the Holy Fathers of the Christian Church) ,,just like Putin admires and respects Kadhyrov”.
The Grand Strategist he is not. I did my research on Andrei Raevsky aka the Saker ex post facto and determined that he was a Swiss citizen who had already some difficulties with the Russians with respect to Chechnya. By his own admission, he was sent there as an employee of the International Red Cross and subsequently fired for his pro-Chechen bias. He later went on record in several published works as being critical of the Russian Army’s “heavy-handed approach” towards the Chechen terrorists.
He was then apparently hired on by the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) out of Geneva, which sent him on several tours to ex-Yugoslavia, specifically, he claims to have been involved in “disarmament negotiations” (which can only have been detrimental to the local Serbs) in Croatia and Bosnia. Having thus cemented his friendship with the Serbs, he immigrated to the USA and underwent further grooming at the Paul H. Nitzke School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, the happy hunting ground of the likes of Madeleine Albright, Condoleeza Rice. He now lives on the Atlantic coast of the state of Florida within a stone’s throw of some 30 military installations who have no problems with his primary activities: broadcasting war against the phantom “Anglo-Zionist empire” (in the cartoon where the Western sponsored ISIL are the good guys) and soliciting donations from his (chiefly left-leaning) supporters in exchange for kitschy wallets imprinted with the Saker image, and autographed copies of his book. Like any good apologist for Islam, Raevsky is also a rabid anti-Semite.
I still believe Russians are our brothers but I don’t believe that Andrei Raevsky is one of them. He is a hybrid, a GMO if you will, of Russian soul fertilized by select Western ideology. It cannot thrive, it should not multiply. It will perish.
For those who you who might not recall who Mrs Berthet is – she was the (short-lived) Serbian Saker Team Leader #2 (if I recall corrected). As for Mr Jovanovic, he held the same position right before her. To make a long story short, soon after Mrs Berthet took over she, indeed, posted an article I judged to be insulting to Islam and I asked her to avoid doing so in the future. Just for the record: each Saker Blog Team is, indeed, 100% independent in its editorial policy, but I always assumed that mentally same people would understand that this meant “within a minimal core number of values” including the respect for, if not endorsement of, any religion (this was never an issue with any other Saker Blog, even those run by agnostics – at least 3 by my count – but somehow became one with putatively “Orthodox” folks. Go figure). Anyway, at this point Mrs Berthet offered to resign which I gladly agreed to. I posted a notice on the blog saying that “The Serbian Saker blog has been purged of most of its data by the (now ex-) Serbian Saker blog Team leader following my opposition to the publication of a viciously anti-Muslim article. Mentaly sane Serbian friends are currently trying to re-start the blog.“
That short post elicited a truly fantastic reaction. Mrs Berthet send me an email which began with “saker, you lying, thieving, manipulating piece of human shit” and ended with “ultimately, you will be as sorry you crossed paths with me, as i am to have crossed paths with you, and this is NOT a joke or a threat. i hope you choke on your own vomit, VERMIN!“. Anybody interested in the full text can get it by clicking here. In 50 years of life I had never come across such an absolutely rabid expression of total, uncontrolled rage and I immediately understood that if I had, indeed, thought that Jovanovic was “insane” it was solely in the colloquial matter of the use of this expression, like “crazy dude”, but that Mrs Berthet was truly either truly mentally deranged, or possessed, or both.
Since I never respond to slander on principle and since I never engaged with mentally insane individuals, I did not reply and simply put a block on Mrs Berthet’s email address. As for the addressees of that email (I should add here that she sent that wonderful opus not only to me, but to pretty much every person she knew in the Saker community and everybody in the Serbian Saker Blog Team), they responded with a unanimous expression of disgust, especially the Serbs who were embarrassed to see a fellow Serb act in such a manner.
At this point, I had mistakenly concluded that with this exchange of pleasantries I was done with the crazy woman. Alas, I was very mistaken.
A few months later I got an email from her husband, whose full name I do not recall but whose email address indicated that he was the author of an anti-imperialist blog. Since I (vaguely) recall Mrs Berthet asking me not to make their association with this blog public I shall not reveal more details about this. Anway – Mr Berthet was writing to, believe it or not, blackmail me.
He entitled his email “if the Saker explodes it will fall on Andrei”. He then proceeded to tell me that unless I posted a note explaining that my trust in his wife was “well placed” and that she had not “participated in an attack against the blog” then that would prove my duplicity! He concluded that this was not a threat, but a wise warning. I could not believe my eyes, the man wanted me to prove my non-duplicity by lying to my readers about his wife and saying that my trust in her was well-placed and he was threatening to, precisely, betray my trust and reveal my identity :-)
Anyway, I told him that if he went ahead with this threat the moniker of “Judas” would stick to him and his wife forever (they have now apparently decided to earn it).
At this point, I need to explain a few things about my anonymity.
[Sidebar: I used to refer to my anonymity as “thin anonymity” because anybody with a little bit of brains reading my blog could have easily located me with the info I had already given out. I just got an email from a good friend whom I only had given only my first name and who now told me that he knew my full ID already for long time :-) This is how decent people are: respectful of privacy and boundaries]
Please remember that when I started my blog in 2007 I was a ‘nobody’ who was writing mainly for himself. I had exiled myself in Florida after leaving Switzerland where I had, indeed, been blacklisted for my pro-Serbian and pro-Russian views. I decided to create an anonymous blog for the following reasons:
- I wanted my former employers to forget about me
- I wanted to write about issues, not personalities
- I wanted my family to enjoy its full anonymity
I started the blog in 2007. We are now in the last days 2015. My former employers don’t even exist anymore. The 3 letter organizations I worked for have been disbanded and my former bosses are either dead of old age or retired. So reason one is now gone.
I still want to write about issues, not me or my past. So reason two is still current.
I still want my family to be safe and left in peace, but reason three is now compromised.
Which is really no big deal. After I got Brethet’s letter of blackmail, I wrote to the Saker Community Executive Committee (SCEC) members and asked for their advice: shall I go public or not? Their advice was to wait.
I should mention one more thing here: I always wanted to act like modern homosexuals and “come out of the closet” one day. I told my wife that this would be my “coming out” day and I tentatively scheduled it on May 1st, 2017 – on the 10th anniversary of the blog. But now that the crazies have gone ahead and violated my trust, my anonymity and my privacy, I am not exactly sure as to how to proceed.
So here is where I need you advice and opinion:
Initially, I thought that I had three options.
First, I considered simply ignoring it all. But it turns out that the crazies are now busy posting links to their little article elsewhere. For example, I was recently interviewed by Sputnik (http://sputniknews.com/politics/20151201/1031060730/turkey-war-russia-crimea-caucasus-central-asia-daesh.html) and a friend informed me that Mr Jovanovic had already posted this in the comments section:
Sputnik, by the way, apparently removed that comment (since I cannot find it any more). Still, this is ridiculous – honorable moderators will now have to look for these types of comments and remove them one by one? This is silly, no? (Note: my mistake – I did find the comment on Sputnik – the Saker)
Also, don’t underestimate the staying power of Berthet and Jovanovic. Not only do they get to wage their little anti-Saker crusade, but they also get to re-direct traffic towards their otherwise irrelevant blogs! So they will have a drive, a determination, to continue their “Saker denunciation” crusade long for a very long time. In fact, I predict that their next step will be to simply fabricate more pseudo-revelations about me with even less truth to them and this latest one.
My personal preference would be to “flush my mental toilet” and forget about these clowns, but they will do their utmost to keep themselves relevant for as long as they can, so that is not an option anymore.
Then, finally, there is also this consideration: besides lying about quite a few things in her post, Brethet got a lot of things simply wrong. Yes, my name is Andrei Raevsky, and the photo is me (cross-country mountain biking in Florida) but much of the rest is plain wrong, especially the chronology. There is also a lot missing ;-)
So I see two options, really, but I want you to decide:
I stick to my plan. I make my official “coming out” from my “closet” in 2017 where I write a painfully narcissistic post – all about myself – and I tell you the full story with details and all. In the meantime, we let the two idiots wait for the collapse of the Saker community (they don’t realize that many/most of the members of that community already know my identity which, to put it mildly, I have not been shy about revealing) and continue to post links to their “Saker denunciation posts”. But what we can do is *pretend* that they don’t exist, that for us they are beneath our “contempt radar”. I like that option because it gives them less power and it allows me to stick to the “coming out” date I had planned. Or
I say it all now. The big advantage of this option is that I can set the record strait now. Take for example the self-evidently idiotic assertion that I was fired from the ICRC for my “pro-Chechen” bias! Anybody who knows anything about ICRC or the rest of them western “humanitarian” organizations would realize that this is quite impossible and that, if anything, it could have been my pro-Russian bias which could have gotten me fired (in this case it was neither, but something I will never publicly discuss no matter what, since it involves the death of a group of innocent people). Their hatred for me clearly clouts their judgment so I expect Jovanovic and Berthet to get many other things wrong. So, shall I bother to set the record straight already now?
You can tell where I am leaning, of course (if you don’t – it’s “A”). Frankly, I don’t feel like “giving chase” to every bit of bullshit these two clowns will post in the future. To deal with dishonorable people always gives me the desire to take a shower and try to forget them as soon as I can. Then there is the fact that this blog is about issues, about resisting the Empire, not about “saying the truth about the Saker”. After all, WHO CARES who I really am or what I really did or did not do? I don’t want to reciprocate to these two crazies and act as if my ego and ruffled feathers (for a Saker – perfect expression, no?) are at the center of the universe and as if everybody should care?
I think that one self-centered and narcissistic post in May 2017 is plenty enough and that between today’s post (which I had to make) and 2017 I can focus on other, much more important and interesting issues.
Bottom line: my personal preference is definitely for “option A”: we all pretend like this all never happened and we just ignore the ugly actions of two dishonorable individuals. But, and this is really important, I want this to be your decision, not mine. After all, you have all, in various manners, trusted me and I now feel that if you do have questions about the allegations made, I should provide them. Besides, I really have never had anything to hide. Right now my biggest regret is that the security and privacy of my family: a wonderful wife of 22 years of marriage whom I admire, respect and love more with each day God granted me to spend with her and three children, a daughter and two boys – all teenagers. They are really the ones whom Berthet and Jovanovic have potentially hurt most. But I also can take care and protect them, and I trust in God’s mercy. But on a strictly personal level, I really don’t care about my privacy being compromised (in many ways, this makes things simpler as this is one less thing to worry about).
So, if you, my friends, want me to basically write up a short bio then I will gladly do it. Just let me know, okay?
My request to you is this:
1) please let me know who you want me to proceed from now on; let me know if you have any questions you want me to answer and share your views, comments and reactions to my explanations above.
2) Vote (in the comments section) by posting “option A” or “option B”.
3) Any other ideas are welcome.
As for me, I ask for your indulgence and understanding. I will restart the blog in full mode only on Monday. I am tired, jet-lagged and, frankly, rather disgusted with this entire business. I also need to reply to 173 emails which accumulated over just the past week! Finally, I want to take a few days to wash-off my sense of violation and disgust and deal with the loss of my mother.
And since all you got is a crappy photo of my mountain biking in central Florida, I am also leaving you with a photo of me made by my wife in Cedar Key in November 2013. I was celebrating my birthday and I wanted to toast to all those friends whom I missed on this occasion (my wife and I were alone on that day) so we took this photo. Now that my privacy has been compromised and my face is out there anyway, I figured I could show it to you without sunglasses and while toasting to you all – the wonderful and beautiful Saker community and all my friends who will be reading this post. Thank you all for being out there and for being such a source of comfort and support.
Andrei Raevsky aka “The Saker”
PS: a small note to my Serbian friends. Please do not worry about what happened. This is no way says anything about the Serbian people whom I love. We know from the New Testament that there is one traitor for every 12 folks out there and considering that our community has well over 100 actively engaged members, it was to be expected that eventually 2 individuals would be unworthy of our trust. In fact, I am amazed at the opposite: over the past couple of years there have been quite a few members leaving our community (the names of Nora, Gevorg, Francois come to my mind) and none of them ever violated the trust I put in them (for which I am sincerely grateful and I wanted to mention them by name for that). The truth is that more or less everybody I was even in semi-regular contact with knew my name, many I met in person, and a few even stayed at my home. Coming from the military world I knew full well that statistical probabilities were against me and that somebody would inevitably take the role of a “rat” and “snitch me out” but I simply did not care. More importantly, I will not deny my trust to most simply because of the inevitable betrayal of a few. You – my Serbian friends, have always been kind, generous and honorable friends towards me and my fondness and respect for you have not been affected by any of that.
PPS: to those interested in meeting me personally. Now that my anonymity is gone, please drop me an email if you are anywhere near East-Central Florida, I will gladly meet with you. Let’s make something good from something ugly :-)