Category Archive: International

George Zimmerman’s brother thinks Obama ‘tapped’ his phones

Apparently paranoia runs in the family:

Robert Zimmerman says that his family has not spoken to his brother, George Zimmerman, since he was acquitted for the murder of Trayvon Martin because President Barack Obama’s administration may be listening to their phone calls.

In an Tuesday interview on Fox News, Robert Zimmerman said that George Zimmerman’s parents had not spoken to or seen their son since the verdict on Saturday night.

“We do have concerns and always have of having our phones tapped, having our phones, you know, listened to by the administration or whomever because George is now as we know continually the subject of ongoing investigation.”

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6 Years Since Ex-FBI Agent Went Missing in Iran

Source:

Later today thousands of former FBI agents across the country are expected to observe a moment of silence in honor of their missing colleague, ex-FBI agent Robert Levinson, who six years ago Saturday was kidnapped in Iran.

Levinson, who spent more than two decades in the Bureau before retiring in 1998, was traveling as a private businessman when he was taken captive by unknown assailants on Iran’s Kish island March 9, 2007.

Since then, his family has mounted a worldwide campaign demanding that Iran set him free, pushing U.S. officials in a meeting in the Oval Office last March to negotiate for him. Today the family is scheduled to meet with the FBI and State Department about the case, but as one family member told ABC News, “There is no news, unfortunately.”

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Video: Syrian rebel leader: We need ammunition

The U.S. announced this week that for the first time it will provide non-lethal aid to the Syrian rebels. One of the rebel leaders, Salim Idris, was a general in the army of Syrian dictator Bashar Assad until 10 months ago. That was when he defected. In a rare TV interview, Idris spoke to CBS News correspondent Margaret Brennan in Turkey.

General Idris took command of the fighters in December. His safety is so precarious he does not sleep in the same place more than one night.

Margaret Brennan: You defected from Assad’s army?

Salim Idris: Yes.

Brennan: You’re fighting your friends right now. What is that like?

Idris: It is very sad. It is not so simple for us to fight against our friends and against our citizens because the army is destroying everything. It is not the army to defend the country. It is an army now to defend the killer, the murderer, Bashar (Assad).

Brennan: The U.S. says right now it’s giving food and medicine.

Idris: Yes.

Brennan: What do you need?

Idris: What really we need is ammunition and I mean anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles.

The rebels need those heavy weapons to fight Assad’s military — armed chiefly by Russia and Iran. The Obama administration fears those arms may end up in the hands of extremists. Idris also asked the U.S. for training to turn his fighters into a unified army and to protect against a chemical weapons attack that he thinks Assad may carry out.

via Syrian rebel leader: We need ammunition – CBS News.

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Israel struggles to keep cloak of secrecy over spy story

The mysterious death of an Australian prisoner in Israel has put the spotlight on a military-run censorship system that is finding it harder to black out secret information often only a mouse click away on the Internet.

The case involves a man reported by Australia’s ABC channel on Tuesday to have been a member of Israel’s Mossad spy agency. According to the report, he committed suicide in prison in 2010 in an isolated top-security wing originally built for the assassin of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

Why the man, identified by ABC as Ben Zygier, an immigrant to Israel, was jailed is still a closely guarded secret, and reports dealing with matters of state security must be submitted to military censors for vetting.

In a highly unusual move within hours of the ABC broadcast, Israeli editors were summoned to an emergency meeting in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office and asked not to publish a story “that is very embarrassing to a certain government agency”, Israel’s Haaretz newspaper reported.

via Israel struggles to keep cloak of secrecy over spy story – Reuters.

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It's Time for a Pope of Color

For centuries the Catholic church has been led by Europeans. The World has changed dramatically since the early days. Now the fastest growing number of members are found in African and Latin America. It would send the wrong message to once again chose a White European Pope. The Catholic Church hierarchy needs to show they are not a hopelessly reactionary organization. Jesus was not a European. Now it’s time for a Pope who is not:

Expert Vatican watchers all name the same four ‘papabile’ — the Cardinals, princes of the church, who could be the next pope.

Three expert Vatican watchers list some of their leading papabile — Italian for cardinals who might be elected as the next pope. In alphabetical order…

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Israel Does as it Pleases

Source: Haaretz:

The prevalent basic assumption in Israel is that it is allowed to do anything. It is rooted deep in its consciousness, and any criticism or even doubt is seen as heresy and treason.

Israel may fly in Lebanon’s sovereign airspace ‏(or any other Arab state’s‏) as often as it desires − that’s taken for granted. It may, of course, bombard anytime that someone foresees danger. It may invade any place, settle anywhere. It may do ‏(almost‏) anything.

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Russia moves to enact laws against 'homosexual propaganda'

Kissing his boyfriend during a protest in front of Russia’s parliament earned Pavel Samburov 30 hours of detention and the equivalent of a $16 fine on a charge of “hooliganism.” But if a bill that comes up for a first vote later this month becomes law, such a public kiss could be defined as illegal “homosexual propaganda” and bring a fine of up to $16,000.

The legislation being pushed by the Kremlin and the Russian Orthodox Church would make it illegal nationwide to provide minors with information that is defined as “propaganda of sodomy, lesbianism, bisexuality and transgenderism.” It includes a ban on holding public events that promote gay rights. St. Petersburg and a number of other Russian cities already have similar laws on their books.

via Russia moves to enact laws against ‘homosexual propaganda’ | Fox News.

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U.S. Government has Abandoned the Syrian People to Assad

U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East has always been about protesting oil interests. The welfare of the average Muslim or Arab matters very little to them. The fear of an Islamic state far outweighs the murderous acts of a dictator. This is the calculation that the Obama administration has made. We’ve seen it many times before:

We should grant American diplomacy under the stewardship of Secretary Hillary Clinton its due: It ran out the clock on the Syrians. There was always another “Friends of Syria” diplomatic gathering, another meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, and always another test of pluralism and inclusiveness that the Syrian opposition had to meet before we deemed it worthy of our support. When Kofi Annan failed and called it quits, another United Nations envoy was dispatched, the Algerian diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi.

Mission accomplished: The war in Syria never intruded on the U.S. presidential contest. Many months earlier, in August 2011, President Barack Obama had given up on the legend of Assad the reformer, and called on the Syrian ruler to abdicate. That declaration was the sum of U.S. policy. America had put itself on the side of good things in Syria, and no more needed to be done. “Complexity” was always the cover, and the pretext, for abdication.

[...]The political calculus had its own power: There was no constituency for a Syrian rescue. One would have thought that it is the burden of leaders to lead, to spell out to a skeptical, reluctant public what the stakes are in distant quarrels. But that is too much to ask for in this moment of American doubt and retrenchment.

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