Wednesday, November 6, 2013

1:01 PM 11/6/2013: » Former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat was poisoned to death with radioactive polonium: widow 06/11/13 16:08 from Reuters: International | Iran Ready to Agree Nuclear Deal | EU-Israel ties under severe strain | Former Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman is expected to return to his post

1:01 PM 11/6/2013

» Former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat was poisoned to death with radioactive polonium: widow
06/11/13 16:08 from Reuters: International
PARIS (Reuters) - Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat was poisoned to death in 2004 with radioactive polonium, his widow Suha said on Wednesday after receiving the results of Swiss forensic tests on her husband's corpse.

» Yasser Arafat 'Was Murdered With Polonium'
06/11/13 16:28 from Sky News | World News | First For Breaking News
The former Palestinian leader's wife claims forensic tests have uncovered evidence of poisoning and a "political assassination".

» Israel-Palestinian talks: Why fate of Jordan Valley is key - BBC News
06/11/13 16:22 from Top Stories - Google News
BBC News Israel-Palestinian talks: Why fate of Jordan Valley is key BBC News Rows of date palms stand sentinel across the vast, flat stretch of land along the border between the West Bank and Jordan. The view is dotted by dozens of Israe...

» Iran Ready to Agree Nuclear Deal
06/11/13 15:45 from World News
The Iranian foreign minister said Tehran is ready to reach an agreement on its nuclear program during upcoming talks in Geneva without offering details on how a deal might be reached.

11:48 AM 11/6/2013

» US and Russia fail to agree Syria peace talks date -
06/11/13 12:05 from Russia - Google News
US and Russia fail to agree Syria peace talks date The US and Russia have failed to agree a date for a Syrian peace conference. The two countries remain divided over what role Iran might play in talks to end the civil war and over...

» US, Russia fail to agree on Syria peace talks date - Reuters
06/11/13 01:30 from Russia - Google News
Haaretz US, Russia fail to agree on Syria peace talks date Reuters GENEVA (Reuters) - The United States and Russia failed on Tuesday to agree on a date for a Syrian peace conference, remaining divided over what role Iran might play in ta...

» Human Rights Group Urges Inquiry Into 'Mistreatment' of Norwegian Journalists in Sochi
06/11/13 05:05 from The Moscow Times Top Stories
A global human rights group on has called on the International Olympic Committee to take action over the reported mistreatment by Russian police of two Norwegian journalists on a reporting trip in Sochi, which is set to host the Winter G...

WSJ: The Snowden Clemency Campaign - 11/5/2013

NYT: Israeli Court Clears Lieberman of Fraud Charges - 11/6/2013 - By JODI RUDOR...

NYT: International Court Postpones  

Kenyatta’s Trial

» Research dispute puts EU-Israel ties under severe strain
06/11/13 14:02 from Reuters: International
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - As Israel looks warily west in the hope that the United States has its back in any conflict with Iran, it might do well to glance north and consider its relations with Europe too.

10:46 AM 11/6/2013 

Research dispute puts EU-Israel ties under severe strain

Related Topics

Israel's President Shimon Peres (L) holds a joint news conference with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso at the EC headquarters in Brussels March 7, 2013. REUTERS/Yves Herman
BRUSSELS | Wed Nov 6, 2013 9:02am EST
(Reuters) - As Israel looks warily west in the hope that the United States has its back in any conflict with Iran, it might do well to glance north and consider its relations with Europe too.
Over the past four years, ties between the European Union and Israel have grown increasingly fractious, with Brussels seldom missing an opportunity to lambaste Benjamin Netanyahu's government for building settlements on occupied Palestinian land and restricting access to large portions of the West Bank.
In a series of statements since June 2009, soon after Netanyahu came to power and settlement expansion began, EU foreign ministers have steadily sharpened their tone, leading to the publication in July this year of strict new rules on how EU funds can be distributed to Israeli organizations.
The funding guidelines, which effectively ban EU money being allotted to Israeli research institutes and other entities that have operations in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, are a source of great aggravation to Israel.
From Europe's point of view, they merely put down on paper what has been a long-held position: that the occupation of Palestinian land is illegal under international law and EU governments don't want to finance activities there.
Either way, it has brought relations to a tense pass, one of the worst periods diplomats can recall in the past decade, and the situation may well get worse.
"There has been a steady downward trend in relations, although perhaps not as bad as sometimes portrayed in the Israeli media," said Mattia Toaldo, a specialist on Israel and the Middle East at the European Council on Foreign Relations.
"The guidelines are part of a political trend that has been part of EU policy since the 1970s but has become more explicit since 2009, and has been stepped up since last December."
While the EU, which provides more than 450 million euros a year to the Palestinians, is regarded by Israel as a less substantial ally than the United States, it still matters a great deal, especially in terms of trade and investment.
The EU is Israel's largest trading partner, supplying nearly 35 percent of Israel's imports, the largest share, while more than a quarter of its exports go to the EU.
In 2000, the EU granted the country preferential trade terms, mainly for agricultural and industrial goods, and there has been a steady rise in cooperation on scientific research and technology too, which is where the guidelines come in.
From next year until the end of the decade, the EU will spend 70 billion euros - 10 billion a year - on scientific research and development, a program called Horizon 2020.
Israel is the only non-EU country invited to take part and will contribute some of the funding, around 600 million euros. In return, its top-notch scientists and researchers will gain access to the wider funding pot, with the expectation that they will secure far more financing than the country puts in.
And there's the rub. The EU's guidelines proscribe any of the money going to entities in the West Bank or East Jerusalem, even though some of the financing ultimately comes from Israel.
"As it stands, we cannot sign Horizon 2020," Deputy Foreign Minister Ze'ev Elkin told Reuters last month. "It would force us to discriminate against our own institutions."
When the guidelines were published in July there was widespread finger-pointing by Israel over whether the EU had kept it informed of the plans. Some Israeli officials suggested the EU had been less than transparent.
Records show Israel was in fact briefed by the EU five times before the publication, although it had essentially no say in shaping the language drafted by the European Commission.
Since then, senior officials have met in Brussels and Jerusalem to try to work out a way of interpreting the guidelines that is acceptable to both sides. There has been little progress so far. Another meeting is due before the end of the month to try to strike a deal in time for Horizon 2020 to begin as planned from January 1, 2014.
While EU and Israeli officials are reasonably hopeful that a compromise can be reached in time, others are not so sure. Toaldo of the European Council on Foreign Relations expects Horizon 2020 to start without Israel, but with the door left open for them to join at some point in the coming years.
That would mark a further decline in ties, although not an irreparable break. However, another set of EU proposals, this time on the labeling of goods made by Israel at factories or farms on the West Bank, is in the pipeline and is likely to be even more sensitive for Israel and disruptive to relations.
Asked when rules on labeling would be published, a senior EU official said: "These are discussions that take some time. They are proceeding and they are rather sensitive ones, so I think one can expect that it may take some more time."
In the past, the EU and Israel have always managed to patch up their differences. A similar outcome is likely now - no one expects a fundamental breakdown in diplomatic relations.
But the EU, which wants Israel to change policy on settlement building and loosen restrictions in the West Bank, specifically Area C that makes up 60 percent of the territory and is controlled by Israeli security, does not appear minded to soften its approach. It thinks the pressure is working.
Toaldo agrees that the EU's approach is having an impact, whether intentional or not, for example in helping to shunt the Israelis and Palestinians back to talks. But he also warns against seeing such an attitude as a workable policy.
"I would say one step at a time. You can strain EU-Israel relations too much and too quickly," he said, adding that while Europe matters to Israel, the reverse is also true.

(Writing by Luke Baker; additional reporting by Crispian Balmer in Jerusalem; editing by Giles Elgood)

10:42 AM 11/6/2013

» Israeli Court Acquits Former Foreign Minister
06/11/13 11:10 from Voice of America
Former Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman is expected to return to his post, after a court acquitted him in a corruption trial. Lieberman stepped down to face allegations that he appointed an ambassador in exchange for informatio...

» Snowden Shakes Up Washington - The American Conservative
05/11/13 01:09 from fbi aclu report - Google News
The American Conservative Snowden Shakes Up Washington The American Conservative It was the exposure that forced them to respond with outrage and that could lead to serious diplomatic strife—already the affected counties are demanding a ...

» Former FBI Agent Mike German Talks About the NSA - American Civil Liberties Union News and Information (blog)
05/11/13 12:26 from fbi - Google News
Former FBI Agent Mike German Talks About the NSA American Civil Liberties Union News and Information (blog) Mike German is a 16-year veteran of the FBI , where he served as a special agent in domestic terrorism. His work led him to resig...

» Is LAX shooting the result of anti-government hatred? - Los Angeles Times
04/11/13 20:50 from fbi aclu report - Google News
Is LAX shooting the result of anti-government hatred? Los Angeles Times It's depressing, but there is probably no way to fully protect the public against people like 23-year-old Paul Anthony Ciancia, who, according to the FBI , was c...

Nino, a ten-year-old toreador apprentice of the French Tauromachy Centre, nicknamed El Nino, touches a practice bull at the bullring of Garons, near Nimes, southern France.   REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier

Reuters Photojournalism

Our day's top images, in-depth photo essays and offbeat slices of life. See the best of Reuters photography.  See more 

FBI Thinks 'New World Order' Theory May Have Motivated LAX Shooter - HP | The Evolution of the ‘New World Order’ - The Daily Beast


This week, on CNN's "Erin Burnett OutFront," I tried to explain how a note written by alleged LAX shooter Paul Ciancia contained several hallmarks of the antigovernment "Patriot" movement's animating "New World Order" conspiracy theory. My remarks were based on references to the Federal Reserve and "fiat currency" that were exclusivelyreported by Hatewatch over the weekend.
My jousting partner in the exchange was Michael Medved, a conservative radio show host, frequent television commentator and columnist. Medved told the audience that my comments were "very dangerous" and "unforgiveable," that I was "completely unfair" to use the word "Patriot" in describing a key sector of the radical right, and that I was "try[ing] to tar" the political right with the Nov. 1 shooting that left one TSA agent dead "when the clear problem is mental illness."

Even as Medved spoke, the FBI was, in effect, backing me up with its own suspicions about Ciancia's motives. The Associated Press reports the FBI obtained a warrant yesterday to search Ciancia's cell phone for, in the words of its request, materials reflecting his "views on the legitimacy or activities of the United States government, including the existence of a plot to impose a New World Order."

In other words, the FBI also is looking into the possibility that Ciancia's views about the New World Order -- a feared totalitarian "one-world government" that he also reportedly mentions in his note -- may have been part of his motivations. That is precisely the point I was making on CNN. Even then, I carefully pointed out that we had no information suggesting Ciancia was involved in any Patriot group.
Medved is normally a fairly reasonable and calm debater and, to be fair, he was not very clear in many of his remarks on CNN. But he was clearly incensed at my description of the Patriot movement and, in particular, its name.
What he did not seem to realize is that this is what these groups, by and large, call their own movement -- this is not some name I made up to describe them. At times, they call themselves "Christian Patriots," but I don't think that would have made Medved any happier. He seemed to think I was impugning all conservatives.
I understand the idea -- at one point, Medved said, "I'm not willing to give up the word 'patriot' to those people." But to suggest, as Medved did, that by using the name I was simultaneously attacking the Tea Party Patriots and other groups closer to the political mainstream, is not only false, but just plain silly. It reminds me of complaints I've heard from some Christians when I speak about the wildly racist and anti-Semitic theology of Christian Identity. None of us may like it, but the proper name of the religion is, in fact, Christian Identity, even though it has no links to any belief system associated with any mainstream branch of Christianity.
In my original weekend post about Ciancia's note, I noted that the TSA, whose agents Ciancia was apparently seeking out to kill, was not particularly the target of most groups on the radical right, though many do despise its parent agency, the Department of Homeland Security. (I also reported exclusively that the note called former DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano a "bull dyke" and contained the phrase "FU Janet Napolitano.") But Gawker last night put up a good post noting that the TSA had been repeatedly vilified by such conservatives as National Review columnist Jonah Goldberg, former Fox News host Glenn Beck, Fox's Geraldo Rivera, several Republican congressmen and a number of other well-known figures on the right.
Will Michael Medved now attack Gawker's reporting as well? I'd love to discuss this with him, but so far, my note to Medved suggesting we get together on his radio show to continue the conversation has met with complete silence.

Mark Potok


The Evolution of the ‘New World Order’

The suspected LAX gunman reportedly referenced the ‘NOW’ during an attack that left one TSA agent dead—and the phrase has been floating on the fringes of American paranoia for decades.

In the wake of alleged LAX gunman Paul Anthony Ciancia’s shooting rampage that left one TSA agent dead and two others wounded, police are analyzing a handwritten note—riddled with anti-government sentiment—that they say Ciancia was carrying at the time of the attack. Among the ramblings about law enforcement “pigs” and “fiat currency,” the letter reportedly contains a reference to the “NOW”—the New World Order, a common topic among conspiracy theorists and fringe groups. As it turns out, the idea of a New World Order has been around for decades—and has long been tinged by the specter of violence. The Daily Beast traces the evolution of the idea from the First World War to the end of the Cold War and beyond.   
Richard Nowitz/Getty
‘The Open Conspiracy’
It might be easy to mistake the NWO as a concept born out of Tea Party politics, since the movement occasionally throws the term around, especially when talking about the Obama administration. But Jesse Walker, author of The United States of Paranoia, says that the idea has been a constant in modern American political life and its historical roots run deep. Today, paranoiacs associate the phrase ‘New World Order’ with a shadowy one-world government—one in which sinister bankers, United Nations officials, and corrupt government leaders collude in secret to make the rest of us into Orwellian mind-slaves.
According to Walker, the League of Nations introduced the term to the political and cultural lexicon after the First World War to describe “evolving world institutions.” The New World Order was also the titular subject of writer H.G. Wells’ 1940 treatise, published one year after the outbreak of World War II, which advocated that nation states band together to prevent future outbreaks of war (“I am not going to write peace propaganda here,” Wells wrote.) The idea of a one-world government also appears, in a thinly-veiled form, in Wells’ 1933 book The Open Conspiracy: Blue Prints For a World Revolution (whose subtitle he later changed to, “What Are We To Do With Our Lives?”), which encouraged a “mental sanitation process” to erase nationalistic ideals from people’s consciousness so they can accept their new roles as “world citizen[s].”
The Birchers Vs. Soviet Communists
A new band of conspiracy theorists perpetuated NWO paranoia in the 1950s, championed by the John Birch Societynamed after an American intelligence officer and Baptist missionary killed during a melee with Chinese communists. Birch, often called the “first victim of the Cold War,” became a martyr for the far right.
A new band of conspiracy theorists perpetuated NWO paranoia in the 1950s, championed by the John Birch Society.
“They were infamous for accusing prominent, powerful Americans of being tools of an international communist conspiracy,” says Walker of the Birch Society. “By the 1960s, Birch Society people and others of that orientation started picking up on [the New World Order]...When they use a phrase like New World Order that sets off alarm bells. It’s tied up with an anxiety not just about a loss of sovereignty but a fear of centralized power of all kinds.” (These days, the John Birch Society often comes upin articles and blog posts about the billionaire Koch brothers, whose father was aprominent member.)
‘90s Counterculture Adopts NWO Theories
As the Cold War receded into history, the New World Order was redefined again. In the 1990s, NWO conspiracy theorists believed the bipolar world—in which the superpower of the West faced off against the superpower of Communism—would be replaced with a one-world government established by the Cold War victors. It didn’t help when, in a 1990 speech, President George H.W. Bush used the term to define the new post-Cold War era.
The populist right, the militia movement, and anti-Bush leftists became obsessed by the phrase—and it entered the counterculture. “It summarizes this whole idea that not only are we losing our individual liberty to big government at home but we’re losing national sovereignty to some larger global force,” says Walker. “Conspiracy theories often take real trends and turn them into a metaphor where there’s a vast intelligence behind that trend. So someone writing critically about the NWO in a conspiratorial way and a non-conspiratorial way might be criticizing the same thing.”  
In comparison to other NWO conspiracy theorists, experts say Ciancia is an outlier. Yet, as Walker notes, the leap from despising a New World Order to demonizing TSA agents is, sadly, not a huge one. “Of course, if you’re worried about moving towards a dictatorship or a police state—the creation of a new police-like agency with intrusive powers—I’m not surprised that someone who complains about NWO complains about TSA.”