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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on November 15th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

Yesterday I saw on TV a series of interviews in a hamlet in Texas where President Obama got only 5 votes while his opponent got 239 votes. It was said that this was the most one-sided voting-booth in the recent elections.The only person the journalist found who voted for Obama was afraid to give his name. Those that proudly acknowledged voting for Mr. Romney – simple people and not of high income – contended that the President was dictatorial, not a true American, not a Christian believer, he allows immigration that dilutes the values of the country … etc. This reminded me about The New York Times article that looked at the voting in the Ukraine. Antisemitism, not a factor yet in the US – but it can be banked upon that this sort of evolution will make it a factor as well. The attack on US military leadership and on the performance of the US government after the very serious mishap in Benghazi may be further proof that ultra-Nationalist elements in the US are on a roll again. The foot soldiers in such movements obviously do not come from the 1% of the extreme rich that help finance this.

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Ukraine’s Ultranationalists Show Surprising Strength at Polls.

By
Published: November 8, 2012

KIEV, Ukraine — The last time Oleg Tyagnibok was a member of Ukraine’s Parliament, his colleagues kicked him out over a fiery speech in which he described how Ukrainians, during World War II, bravely fought Muscovites, Germans, Jews “and other scum,” and then used slurs to refer to the “Jewish-Russian mafia, which rules in Ukraine.”

Eight years later, Mr. Tyagnibok is preparing to return to Parliament, not as a lone member of a broader coalition, as he was when he was ejected, but as the leader of Svoboda, the ultranationalist, right-wing party that will control 38 of 450 seats, or about 8.5 percent of the national legislature.

Svoboda’s surprising show of strength in the Oct. 29 election — polls had predicted that the party would fail to meet the 5 percent threshold to enter Parliament — has stirred alarm, including warnings from Israel about the rise of anti-Semitism and xenophobia in Ukraine, a former Soviet republic and a place with a firsthand knowledge of ethnic violence and genocide.

But in an interview in the downtown office building that Svoboda shares with an insurance company and a dental clinic named Smile, Mr. Tyagnibok said that fear of his party was misplaced and the accusations of racism and extremism unfounded.

“Svoboda is not an anti-Semitic party,” he said, seated behind a desk, a sport jacket stretched by his barrel-sized chest, his huge hands folded in front of him, speaking slowly and firmly in Ukrainian. “Svoboda is not a xenophobic party. Svoboda is not an anti-Russian party. Svoboda is not an anti-European party. Svoboda is simply and only a pro-Ukrainian party. And that’s it.”

Of course, that was not it.

Mr. Tyagnibok was just beginning to demonstrate the smooth charm that has helped Svoboda, which means “Freedom,” build support beyond its traditional stronghold in the Ukrainian-speaking west.

Tall, with beefy good looks, Mr. Tyagnibok, 44, who is a urological surgeon by training, has used his party’s pro-Ukrainian message to tap into frustration over the country’s stalled economy and growing disillusionment with the government of President Viktor F. Yanukovich.

From Mr. Tyagnibok’s frequent appearances on television talk shows, emphasizing national sovereignty and warning of encroachment by neighboring Russia, most viewers might never discern that some of his party’s members are unabashed neo-Nazis, while others shun the label but nonetheless espouse virulent hatred of Jews, gays and especially Russians.

Researchers who specialize in extremism say it is a talent shared by other leaders of far-right parties and has helped bring them into the mainstream in many European countries, including Hungary, Poland and Romania.

“This is a common phenomenon within these parties, that they have a front-stage image and a backstage agenda,” said Andreas Umland, an expert at the National University in Kiev. “The internal discourse, from what we can only suspect, is much more radical and xenophobic than what we see.” He added, “This is all much more radical.”

In the interview at his office, Mr. Tyagnibok said Svoboda’s message was only positive. “We do call ourselves nationalists,” he said. “Our view is love. Love of our land. Love of the people who live on this land. This is love to your wife and your home and your family. So, it’s love to your mother. Can this feeling be bad?”

“Our nationalism does not imply hatred to anybody,” he continued. “We formed a political party to protect the rights of Ukrainians, but not to the detriment of representatives of other nation.” He added, “So, if you ask about philosophy to be explained in two words: We are not against anyone. We are for ourselves.”

For a long time, they were for themselves and mostly by themselves. In the previous parliamentary election, in 2007, Svoboda received less than three-quarters of 1 percent of the vote, and that was an improvement. Until 2004, Svoboda was called the Social-Nationalist Party, which critics said was just a word flip of its true ambitions.

Born in Lviv, sometimes called the capital of the western, Europe-oriented Ukraine, Mr. Tyagnibok said he was raised to hate Communists, in part because his paternal grandfather was a victim of oppression under Stalin. He got his start in politics as a student organizer in the late 1980s, attended medical school and has been a member of the nationalist party from its inception in the early 1990s.

He served six years in Parliament, from 1998 until he was ejected in 2004. In 2001, with Ukrainian voters growing increasingly frustrated with the status quo, Svoboda made major gains in local and regional elections. Some voters who supported Svodboda said they believed that the party could present the strongest challenge to President Yanukovich. Many said they did not view the party as extreme.

“Those people who supported Svoboda in these elections, they don’t support racism, anti-Semitism, neo-Nazism,” said Vyacheslav Likhachev, who monitors extremism for the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress. “They support Svoboda because every vote for Svoboda was a vote against the ruling government.”

Still, Mr. Likhachev said, Svoboda’s rise was not a positive development for Ukraine. “It is bad for society,” he said.

In the days before the vote, Mr. Tyagnibok signed an agreement to work with other opposition parties, including the Fatherland party of the jailed former prime minister, Yulia V. Tymoshenko. Ms. Tymoshenko, who was barred from the ballot this year, recently began a hunger strike to protest what she said was fraud in the elections.

Mr. Tyagnibok’s ties to Ms. Tymoshenko and former President Viktor Yushchenko date to before Ukraine’s Orange Revolution in 2004, which Mr. Tyagnibok and other nationalists supported. Critics of the alliance say that it will give Svoboda more power than it would have on its own, and grant it further legitimacy as a mainstream faction.

Although his occasional use of ethnic and religious epithets is well documented — there was the 2004 speech to supporters, and in 2005, his public signing of an open letter to President Yushchenko and others demanding an end to “criminal activities of organized Jewry in Ukraine” — Mr. Tyagnibok called the allegations of hate speech “a fantasy and a serious exaggeration.”

The general prosecutor charged him with inciting ethnic hatred, but the case was dropped after the Orange Revolution. “In 2004, I was accused of anti-Semitism, but I won in all the court cases,” Mr. Tyagnibok said.

Mr. Tyagnibok said nationalist parties were enjoying a renaissance in Europe because of the Continent’s financial problems, as well as conflicts with Muslim immigrants in countries like Italy, France and Spain. “Europe is change,” he said. “Economic failures make people look for reasons.”

But he said it was all for the best. “In our view the ideal is to see Europe as one big flower bed full of different flowers, with Ukraine as one of the most beautiful flowers in it,” Mr. Tyagnibok said. “It has its own scent, its own beauty. It is different from other flowers, but it is in the same flower bed.”

He waved away any thought of nationalist strife. “Just imagine one nationalist talking to another nationalist,” he said. “There should be no problems between them. Everybody respects their interests, and everybody understands we live in one big world.”

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Also today’s:

Veteran F.B.I. Agent Helped Start Petraeus E-Mail Inquiry.

By , and ALAIN DELAQUÉRIÈRE
Published: November 14, 2012

DOVER, Fla. — The F.B.I. agent who spurred the investigation that led to the resignation of David H. Petraeus as C.I.A. director is a “hard-charging” veteran who helped investigate the foiled millennium terrorist plot in 1999, colleagues said on Wednesday.

Frederick W. Humphries II helped start the inquiry that led to the resignation of David H. Petraeus, center, as C.I.A. director and ensnared the commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, Gen. John R. Allen, left, shown with Leon E. Panetta in 2011.

The agent, Frederick W. Humphries II, 47, is also described by former colleagues as relentless in his pursuit of what he sees as wrongdoing, which appears to describe his role in the F.B.I. investigation involving Mr. Petraeus. Suspecting that the case involved serious security issues and was being stalled, possibly for political reasons — a suspicion his superiors say was unjustified — he took his concerns to Congressional Republicans.

“Fred is a passionate kind of guy,” one former colleague said. “He’s kind of an obsessive type. If he locked his teeth onto something, he’d be a bulldog.”

The question of how and why the F.B.I. opened the investigation that has had such momentous consequences has been central from the moment Mr. Petraeus stepped down Friday. The emerging portrait of the agent who initiated the inquiry is another step toward an answer.

Mr. Humphries, who was identified on Wednesday by law enforcement colleagues, took the initial complaint from Jill Kelley, a Tampa woman active in local military circles and a personal friend, about anonymous e-mails that accused her of inappropriately flirtatious behavior toward Mr. Petraeus.

The subsequent cyberstalking investigation uncovered an extramarital affair between Mr. Petraeus and Paula Broadwell, his biographer, who agents determined had sent the anonymous e-mails. It also ensnared Gen. John R. Allen, the commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, after F.B.I. agents discovered what a law enforcement official said on Wednesday were sexually explicit e-mail exchanges between him and Ms. Kelley.

A spokesman for Ms. Kelley provided her version of events in two conference calls with reporters on Wednesday. Ms. Kelley’s concern when she took the e-mails to Mr. Humphries was that she feared the sender was “stalking” Mr. Petraeus and General Allen, said the spokesman, who asked not to be identified.

“She asks the agent, ‘What do you make of this?’ ” the spokesman said. “The agent said: ‘This is serious. They seem to know the comings and goings of a couple of generals.’ ”

General Allen himself had received a similar anonymous e-mail message, sent by someone identified as “kelleypatrol,” advising him to stay away from Ms. Kelley. The general forwarded it to Ms. Kelley, and they discussed a concern that someone was cyberstalking them.

On Tuesday, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said he had asked the Senate to postpone a confirmation hearing for General Allen’s next assignment while the department’s inspector general reviewed his e-mail correspondence with Ms. Kelley, which was discovered by F.B.I. agents investigating her initial complaint.

Pentagon officials said the review covered more than 10,000 pages of documents that included “inappropriate” messages. But associates of General Allen have said that the two exchanged about a dozen e-mails a week since meeting two years ago and that his messages were affectionate but platonic.

A law enforcement official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, disputed that assertion on Wednesday, saying some messages were clearly sexual. Investigators were confident “the nature of the content warranted passing them on” to the inspector general, the official said.

In a statement on Wednesday, General Allen’s military counsel said he intended to cooperate fully with the inspector general’s investigation. “To the extent there are questions about certain communications by General Allen, he shares in the desire to resolve those questions as completely and quickly as possible,” said the statement from Col. John G. Baker, the chief defense counsel of the Marine Corps.

The F.B.I. director, Robert S. Mueller III, and the deputy director, Sean Joyce, briefed leaders of the Senate and House intelligence committees about the investigation. Mr. Petraeus is expected to speak to the panel behind closed doors on Friday about the attack on the American Mission in Benghazi, Libya. The events leading to his resignation are certain to come up.

A Pentagon official said the security clearance of Ms. Broadwell, a West Point graduate and officer in the Army Reserve, had been suspended pending the outcome of the F.B.I. investigation. F.B.I. agents on Monday night carried boxes of documents and a computer out of the house she shares with her husband and two sons. The law enforcement official said that Ms. Broadwell had cooperated with investigators in their effort to remove all classified material, which by law cannot be kept in an insecure facility.

The officials said Ms. Kelley was no longer permitted to enter MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa “with a wave,” as she has for years as a regular volunteer and visitor to ranking officers there. Now she has to get approval and sign in at the visitor’s gate, the official said.

Ms. Kelley, whose house has been besieged by reporters and television crews, has called 911 several times to complain about snooping reporters, according to tapes and transcripts of the calls posted on the Web. In at least one call, she asked for “diplomatic protection,” saying she is an “honorary consul general,” a designation she reportedly received from South Korean diplomats.

By all accounts, Mr. Humphries doggedly pursued Ms. Kelley’s cyberstalking complaint. Though he was not assigned to the case, he was admonished by supervisors who thought he was trying to improperly insert himself into the investigation.

In late October, fearing that the case was being stalled for political reasons, Mr. Humphries contacted Representative Dave Reichert, a Republican from Washington State, where the F.B.I. agent had worked previously, to inform him of the case. Mr. Reichert put him in touch with the House majority leader, Eric Cantor, who passed the message to Mr. Mueller.

Lawrence Berger, the general counsel for the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, who spoke with Mr. Humphries, said Mr. Humphries only received the information from Ms. Kelley and never played a role in the investigation.

Mr. Berger said Mr. Humphries and his wife had been “social friends with Ms. Kelley and her husband prior to the day she referred the matter to him.”

“They always socialized and corresponded,” he said.

Mr. Berger took issue with news media reports that said his client had sent shirtless pictures of himself to Ms. Kelley.

“That picture was sent years before Ms. Kelley contacted him about this, and it was sent as part of a larger context of what I would call social relations in which the families would exchange numerous photos of each other,” Mr. Berger said.

The photo was sent as a joke, he said, and was of Mr. Humphries “posing with a couple of dummies.” Mr. Berger added that it was not sexual in nature.

Two former law enforcement colleagues said Mr. Humphries was a solid agent with experience in counterterrorism. He has conservative political views and a reputation for being aggressive, they said.

Colleagues and news reports described the role of Mr. Humphries, who in 1999 was in his third year at the F.B.I., in building the case against Ahmed Ressam, who was detained as he tried to enter the United States from Canada with a plan to set off a bomb at Los Angeles International Airport.

In May 2010, after he had moved to the Tampa field office, Mr. Humphries fatally shot a knife-wielding man near a gate of MacDill Air Force base. A state prosecutor declined to prosecute the case, and the Justice Department’s civil rights division and an internal F.B.I. review board each also found that the use of force had been justified, according to bureau records.

A large American flag was flying on Wednesday in front of Mr. Humphries’s house in Dover, a half-hour drive from Tampa. A man standing in the driveway who appeared to be Mr. Humphries, approached by a reporter seeking comment, said his first name was not Fred. The man then walked into the house, closed the front door and did not respond to the doorbell.

In regard to his client’s speaking with Mr. Cantor, Mr. Berger declined to address the issue, saying only that his client “had followed F.B.I. protocols.”

“No one tries to become a whistle-blower,” he said. “Consistent with F.B.I. policy, he referred it to the proper component.”

A law enforcement official said disclosing a confidential investigation even to Congress members could sometimes violate F.B.I. rules. The official said that Mr. Humphries’s conduct was under review and that he had not been punished in any way.

On Wednesday, Mr. Cantor said he had no intention of “politicizing” the tip from Mr. Humphries, whom he did not name. “The information that was sent to me sounded as if there was a potential for a national security vulnerability,” Mr. Cantor said.

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