Archive for category Cyprus

the virtuoso

Philadelphia area attorney charged in sex tourism case

by KYW’s Tony Hanson
A Philadelphia area attorney, who formed a foundation to assist aspiring performing artists reach their goals, is now charged in a sex tourism case involving a former student at the Bolchoi Academy. The defendant, who allegedly sexually assaulted the victim for years beginning in 1998, has been arrested in Cyprus and is awaiting extradition.

The Apogee foundation’s stated goal is to discover, develop and celebrate the creative potential of mankind, but  federal authorities alleged the president and founder of Apogee, Kenneth Schneider, used his wealth and position to victimize a pre-teen boy for years - starting at age 12. Federal authorities say the boy’s family could no longer afford the Bolshoi fee and Schneider offered to help. The boy would live with him.  The federal complaint says the boy’s parents had serious reservations, but agreed. U-S Attorney Michael Levy: “Anybody who is a parent knows you want the best for your children and you’ve got a child who has talent and can really do well, but you can’t afford it. And here is somebody coming forward to say your troubles are over.”

Schneider’s attorney has declined comment.

Actually it was an eight year relationship. The accused fled to Cyprus presumably to avoid prosecution.

And he’s actually a little more than just a Philadelphia area attorney. That’s so modest. Wait till you see what a rock star this guy is.

Kenneth Schneider, 45, is president and chief executive officer of Aurience Ltd., a mergers and acquisitions firm based in London and the founder of the Apogee Foundation, a philanthropic arts group that funds young performing artists.

According to the indictment, Schneider was working as a legal consultant in Moscow in 1998 when he met a 12-year-old boy who was a student at the prestigious Bolshoi Ballet Academy.

The boy, identified in the indictment by his initials, had been forced to leave the academy because his parents could not afford to pay the tuition.

Schneider offered to pay for the boy’s schooling and proposed to the parents that the child live with him in his Moscow apartment. The parents agreed.

Soon afterward, Scheider began “grooming” the boy for sexual contact by touching and kissing him and buying him gifts, according to the indictment. Eventually, Schneider engaged in intercourse with the boy, the indictment states.

In 2001, Schneider brought the boy to Philadelphia to study for the summer at the Rock School for Dance Education. Schneider and the boy, then 15, returned to Russia, where the sexual relationship continued, according to the indictment.

The dancer, now 24, lives with his wife, whom he met while studying at the University of the Arts.

A civil suit filed in Philadelphia by the dancer in 2007 prompted a federal investigation, Levy said.

It claims Schneider created the Apogee Foundation in order to make illicit contact with young male performers in the former Soviet Union.

Schneider promised to use the foundation’s influence to make the boy a star, according to the suit.

When the dancer began a relationship with his future wife, Schneider threatened to have him deported back to Russia and “his hopes of any career would be ruined,” the civil suit states.

As a result of his relationship with Schneider, the dancer suffered “inconsolable shame and depression,” says the suit, which seeks unspecified damages.

You might want to mosey over to see the logo:
Here’s an excerpt from a bio of Schneider written by Daisy Scott, World Web Media, a “research and journalism group based in New Delhi, India.” (I guess he is the main client.)

Kenneth Schneider Apogee Foundation and Aurience Ltd emerged to fulfill a dream much bigger than any one man: a dream for all mankind to dream and fulfill together. Kenneth Schneider Apogee Foundation and Aurience Ltd are thus like the knights and wizards of a modern-day fairytale — reaching into the past to help the world overcome the challenges of the present and summon into being a better future. But this is a real-world story with real-world heroes: fulfilling a mission that is as challenging as it is worthwhile, the quest for the real-world holy grail.

Oh The Drama.

Actually, the dramatic bio mentions that Schneider used to work for Millhouse Capital in London.

Milhouse Capital is a Russian holding company, whose current CEO is Roman Abramovich, a business associate of Oleg Deripaska. They are among the “New Money Oligarchs” whose rise to prominence and wealth was fostered by the Yeltsin administration. The roots of this company date back to the “Cold War”, when Richard Nixon initially invested in Russia, hoping that his investment would be mutually beneficial to the former Allied Nations during WWII. The founding CEO’s, Roman Abramovich and Oleg Deripaska used connections with the Russian Aristocracy, known as “Oprachinas” to formally incorporate the entity. The company made them two of Russia’s wealthiest persons, as noted by Forbes Magazine[citation needed].
Today, in 2009, the company has seen better times, but through a strategic investment portfolio, is poised to make a big comeback[according to whom?], as the world’s economy improves. (Wikipedia, links removed.)

So it’s possible that when Schneider was working as a “legal consultant in Moscow in 1998,” he might have been working for Abramovich.

I mean, to downplay his status as a mere “Philadelphia area attorney” or a “man charged” with molesting a Russian pre-teen, as these headlines do, truly fails to appreciate Schneider’s contributions to humanity.

Here’s another bio, this time written by Richard Morrison.

Kenneth Schneider’s career has included mastering everything from music and mathematics to philosophy and physics and from linguistics and law to education and economics in the course of a stunning path taking him to and beyond the world’s leading academic institutions, professional firms and international powerbrokers. Throughout his life, Ken Schneider seems to have taken on mankind’s most complex challenges on scales larger than life itself by demonstrating an intellectual virtuosity so unlimited that it can transcend fields, nations and cultures.

During his early period as an international financial attorney practicing with several of the world’s leading law firms in New York and London, Schneider masterminded new ways of thinking about his own profession while handling headline transactions in more than 50 countries on all six inhabited continents. But he would literally rewrite history itself when he agreed to focus these skills on the revitalization of the former Soviet Union’s (FSU) newly free and completely chaotic economies at the end of the millennium. In 1993, Kenneth Schneider undertook an assignment to represent the government of one of the FSU’s largest and most resource-rich republics: rewriting their legal frameworks and negotiating foreign investment on a massive scale that would enable not only the economic but the social redevelopment of the nation.

Fluent in Russian and realizing that the FSU covered one-sixth of the Earth’s land surface and contained a quarter of the world’s natural resources, Ken Schneider would followed this opening act by relocating to Moscow, the heart of the former Soviet empire, to play a major role in changing the course of world history. In the years concluding the old millennium and beginning the new, Schneider marshaled his full spectrum of intellectual abilities and professional skills to reposition the very role of the intellect and of the professions in creating an era of unprecedented opportunities for massive transformation. Kenneth Schneider brought to bear his well-honed skills as a legal and financial virtuoso to rethink and reintegrate the old with the new and the best of East and of the West into new paradigms on which the future economic progress of the FSU – and of the world – could be re-founded.

In the series of monumental engagements that followed – sweeping across Eurasia from the Atlantic to the Pacific and the Arctic to the Indian Oceans – Ken Schneider did nothing less than redesign the legal and financial infrastructure of what had been the world’s largest empire. In doing so, he created a new fusion of emerging and mature market paradigms and Eastern and Western priorities that resulted in entirely new standards and models for legal and financial professionals not only throughout the FSU and other developing economies around the globe, but also in the world’s legal and financial centers where past generations’ touchstones had originally been developed.…With the arrival of the new millennium, Kenneth Schneider would outdo even these accomplishments upon becoming one of the founding members of Millhouse Capital, which – within an amazingly brief time – would have under management the largest collection of FSU assets ever assembled.

HOO! Boy.

i forgot the towel to kneel on

Well anyway, while Schneider was busy remaking the world with his bare hands, some deals might possibly have gone down that later maybe possibly looked a little teensy bit shady. NOT that Schneider would have necessarily had anything to do with these deals. I am not suggesting that. But Boss Roman Abramovich did come under scrutiny of Swiss authorities in the possible misuse of an IMF loan to Russia, and Schneider was reportedly doing “nothing less than” redesigning “the legal and financial infrastructure of what had been the world’s largest empire.” So it seems fair to ask…

From aangirfan, Banks and Crime, October 14, 2008:

5. The Chelsea football club owner Roman Abramovich was a suspect in the case of the possible misuse of a $4.8 billion loan from the IMF to Russia. (Did the $4.8 billion loan from the IMF to Russia finance the Chelsea Football Club…)

Abramovich and his Runicom trading group were named in documents from a Swiss inquiry into what happened to money meant to help Russia.

The Swiss believed that Abramovich was one of the controllers of a web of slush funds.

US Federal prosecutors allege that the Bank of New York was linked to $7 billion in Russian money, some from criminal activities.

Some allegations have said the Bank of New York case included funds lent to Russia by the IMF.

(For further reading on this sort of thing, like money laundering through professional sports teams and such, see Rome: “the promised land of foreign mafias.”)

Unfortunately, the Swiss were forced to abandon their investigation because Russian and US authorities refused to divulge what they knew of the scandal.

For the first time, the Swiss have publicly revealed why they were forced to abandon their investigation. Russia and the United States, it has emerged, refused to divulge what they knew about the scandal.

Marc Tappolet, the Geneva investigating magistrate in charge of the criminal inquiry, said that both superpowers ignored his repeated requests for help. Neither country would even reply to formal applications made through diplomatic channels for legal assistance.

As a wall of silence was erected from Moscow to Washington, the investigation was marred by violent intimidation. Laurent Kasper-Ansermet, the investigating magistrate who launched the Swiss investigation, was left bleeding and unconscious in an attack in St Petersburg during a visit to Russia.

Millhouse Capital, of which Schneider was a founding member, was very active during the time of the investigation, divesting assets and reinvesting, and moving money around. But…

No evidence linking Abramovich to the IMF funds was ever reported. (wink wink)

Might Kenneth Schneider have possibly applied his intellectual virtuosity somewhere in here, someplace? Especially since the IMF loan was made back in 1998, right around the time that Schneider had moved to Moscow and was working as a “legal consultant.” We don’t know. Way back in 2000 a freelance journalist, Lucy Komisar, spent three months in Russia investigating the impact of offshore bank and corporate secrecy. She reported on this missing $4.8 billion loan.

The $4.8 billion was supposed to avert a financial collapse brought on by widespread stripping of Russian assets, capital flight, and looting of international loans and investments. It was purportedly given to allow major Russian banks to buy rubles and stabilize the currency.

But according to Viktor Ilyukhin, chairman of the security committee of the Duma, Russia’s legislature, the money “was robbed.”

“The IMF money was sent from the Bank of New York via Russia to the Frankfurt Ost-West Hendelsbank, an affiliate of the Central Bank,” he said in June. …Ilyukhin claims to have copies of the paper trails showing $235 million went to the Bank of Sydney, was changed to pounds sterling and went to Great Britain with the help of Dyachenko. “Another part, $1.7 billion, went to the Swiss Bank of Lausanne. Our information is that Chubais and Berezovsky were involved,” Ilyukhin claimed, with a major part of that going to the Bank of New York. “In this, Chernomyrdin was involved.”

…Washington, the IMF, and Moscow (which has to repay the $4.8 billion loan) should be eager to recover any money that was diverted. But political interests apparently make them very reluctant to follow the money trail.

Masterfully done.

But was Schneider involved? Who knows. He may have been very busy doing other things at that time, like setting up the Apogee Foundation and grooming his boy.

Lebanon, Cyprus, Turkey, Iran

1. Former military chiefs held in Turkey plot probe

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkish police detained former heads of the air force and navy and other senior officers on Monday in an investigation into an alleged plot to undermine the Islamist-rooted government and trigger a military coup.

The swoop, one of the largest in European Union candidate Turkey against the secularist armed forces, further raised tensions between the ruling AK Party and the military, which has been implicated in several alleged plots in the past year.

Former Air Force Commander Ibrahim Firtina, former Naval Commander Ozden Ornek and ex-Deputy Chief of the General Staff General Ergin Saygun, were among those held, broadcasters said.

Current armed forces chief General Ilker Basbug delayed a trip to Egypt as a result, broadcaster CNN Turk reported. In total seven serving officers and seven retired officers were detained.

Interior Minister Besir Atalay, accompanying Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan on an official visit to Spain, said he was being kept informed of developments, state-run Anatolian news agency reported.

NTV said the suspects held in Ankara were being flown to Istanbul for questioning over the “Sledgehammer” plot after police raids in the cities of Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir.

Neither police or the military had any immediate comment.

Financial markets showed little reaction to the detentions, but Wolfango Piccoli from the Eurasia political risk consultancy said they looked set to trigger another escalation in the tense relations between the military and the AK Party.

“The government is now embroiled in an open and bitter power-struggle with the judiciary and the military, raising the risk of a head-on confrontation that would badly damage political stability,” Piccoli said.

Such detentions would have been unthinkable in the past for the military, which has ousted four governments in the last 50 years. However, its powers have waned in recent years due to democratic reforms aimed at securing EU membership.

Other senior military officers have been indicted on charges of planning a separate plot to overthrow the AK Party, which has its roots in political Islam.


According to previous media reports on the Sledgehammer plan, denied by the military, the army had plotted to provoke Greek fighter jets into shooting down a Turkish military jet.

Turkey and neighbouring Greece have longstanding territorial disputes and came close to war in 1996 over an islet in the Aegean, though relations have improved in the last decade.

The alleged plot also involved planting bombs in mosques and museums in Istanbul to stir chaos. Last month Taraf newspaper said it had obtained 5,000 pages of documents and tapes on the plan which was aimed at justifying an army takeover in 2003.

The military has said documents quoted by the paper were part of a military training seminar but were never meant to be carried out and were not part of a conspiracy.

The latest detentions coincide with rising political tensions due to a clash between Erdogan’s government and the secularist judiciary over the arrest of a prosecutor who had investigated Islamic groups.

That prosecutor has been accused of links to an alleged far-right militant network, “Ergenekon”. More than 200 people, including military officers, lawyers and politicians, have been arrested in the case since it came to light 2-1/2 years ago.

Critics of the government say the Ergenekon investigation has also been used to hound political opponents.


2. Lebanese PM Sleiman and Cyprus — time to implement agreements

During a press conference held Wednesday February 17, 2010 at the embassy headquarters in Beirut, the ambassador of Cyprus in Lebanon Mr. Kiriakos Koros said Michel Sleimane’s visit to Cyprus aimed, above all, to tighten bilateral relations, and namely to promote tourism in both countries. “Since the official establishment of the Cyprus Embassy was officially established in Beirut, several contracts have been signed between the island and the country of cedars. Today, it is time to implement these contracts”, the ambassador said.

On the political level, Mr. Koros focused on the Lebanese support to the island in international forums. Lebanon, he said, should be alerted, and even sensitive on issues concerning Cyprus. “Being elected for the non-permanent seat within the Security Council but also as it is an integral part of the Arab League, Lebanon can now echo Cyprus requests in international forums,” Koros said.

The two countries also stressed the need to comply with UN resolutions and move the peace process forward in the Middle East. “The two countries share many political opinions, particularly concerning the need to freeze the settlement process in the Palestinian territories and the importance to establish peace in the Middle East” he added.

To conclude, Mr. Koros stressed the need to coordinate between Lebanon and Cyprus and exchange experiences so as to meet the interests of both the Cypriots and the Lebanese. He also praised the key role assumed by the Maronite community in Cyprus, as it was serving as a cultural bridge between the Lebanese and the Cypriot society.

more @ iloubnan

3. Ahmadinejad calls for independent states to be ready for changes in world

“Today that capitalism is collapsing, the independent states should prepare themselves for huge global developments, and this necessitates promotion of the level of mutual and all-out cooperation,” Ahmadinejad said in a meeting with the Democratic Republic of Congo’s National Assembly Speaker, Evariste Boshab, here in Tehran today.

Ahmadinejad described expansion of mutual and multilateral cooperation among independent states as the key to resistance against the pressures imposed by the bullying powers.

more @ fars

4. Iran to speak to IAEA about “unreal parts” of Amano’s report

“Unfortunately Amano’s report is two-sided and some unreal issues have been intermingled with real issues,” member of the parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Esmae’il Kowsari told FNA….The latest report on Iran presented by Amano to the agency’s Board of Governors on Thursday vindicates the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear activities and confirms that Iran’s program is faced with no technical or legal problems.

Yet, Amano’s first report on Iran’s nuclear program, similar to ElBaradei’s reports, is comprised of technical and legal as well as political aspects. Those parts which deal with the legal and technical issues underline the technical success and legality of Iran’s nuclear program and the peaceful nature of the country’s nuclear activities.  However, a number of issues fabricated by the western media are stated in the report on Iran which Iranian officials say has no legal rationale.

Despite, Amano’s previous claims that he wants to focus on “the facts” and pursue a more technical approach than his predecessor Mohammad ElBaradei, he also complained about the level of Iran’s cooperation with the Agency. This is while the agency has repeatedly praised Iran’s full cooperation with the UN nuclear watchdog agency in is previous reports.

more @ fars

5. and where do those “unreal parts” come from? Israel urges Iran oil embargo even without UN approval

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on Monday for an immediate embargo on Iran’s energy sector, saying the U.N. Security Council should be sidestepped if it cannot agree on the move.

…If the world “is serious about stopping Iran, then what it needs to do is not watered-down sanctions, moderate sanctions … but effective, biting sanctions that curtail the import and export of oil into Iran,” Netanyahu said in a speech.


update on Hadjicostis murder

image from: Cyprus Weekly

An update on the Hadjicostis murder, covered here and by aangirfan here,

…which you can readily see has intelligence services fingerprints all over it.

But never mind all that crazy talk about the embassy and the security cameras and the shell casings and Mossad and Cyprus blah blah blah. This is the very simple, very easy to understand white bread explanation, suitable for public consumption:

NICOSIA - A Cyprus court remanded a blonde TV presenter and her brother in police custody on Friday on suspicion of ordering the contract killing of media tycoon Andis Hadjicostis.

Elena Skordelli, a 42-year-old mother of two and TV show host, and her brother Tassos Krasopoulis, 37, appeared before a Nicosia district court and were remanded for eight days. They have not been charged.

The pair denies any involvement in the killing and their defence lawyers said the suspects wanted to help police with their inquiries.

They were arrested on Thursday night in connection with the gangland-style hit on the media mogul after a suspect already in custody admitted to his part in the crime.

He then fingered the brother and sister as the people behind the killing, police said.

According to the suspect’s police statement, he met the TV journalist and her brother on two occasions during which they ordered the hit on Hadjicostis for a fee, the court heard.

Police believe the motive was financial and personal revenge as they are both shareholders in private channel Sigma TV.

Hadjicostis, a father of two, was chief executive of the Dias media group, one of the island’s largest, which owns Sigma TV, Radio Proto, daily newspaper Simerini and other publications.

It is alleged that the woman wanted her revenge after she was sacked from Sigma and held Hadjicostis responsible.

In return for carrying out the hit, the other suspects were also to receive jobs at the station, the court heard.

Five suspects are in police custody on suspicion of involvement in the killing.

The 42-year-old media mogul was gunned down outside his home close to the US embassy on January 11.

Earlier in the week, Skordelli had issued a statement threatening to sue anyone who implicated her in the killing of her “beloved Andis”.

She also claimed that her life was being endangered by a scurrilous whispering campaign against her and requested police protection saying someone had tampered with her car.

The seasoned journalist reportedly has a 20-% share in private TV station Sigma, which belongs to the Dias group owned by Hadjicostis’s father Costis.

Three other suspects arrested last week are expected to appear again before a Nicosia court on Saturday.

Police have asked Interpol to circulate a warrant for the arrest of a sixth suspect, Gregoris Xenofontos, 29, who is thought to be in Moldova.

Additional details:

The arrests came after the outcome of the testimony of one of three suspects already in custody, who is said to have ‘broken under police questioning’ and confessed his involvement in the crime. Authorities withheld comment on the nature of the confession….The minister was flanked by Kypros Michaelides, police superintendent for the Nicosia district, who also refused to answer any questions by newsmen, such as whether the two new suspects were being considered as the masterminds of the crime, or whether the arrests would take investigations in a new direction.

…Earlier this week Skordelli’s lawyer sent letters to the police chief, Attorney-general and the Justice and Interior Ministers requesting protection after an alleged attempt to cause her injury. In the letter, lawyer Michalakis Kyprianou claimed his client was potentially in danger and asked for police protection. He further claimed that unknown persons removed three nuts from the front tyre of Skordelli’s car last Friday, “evidently, to cause an accident or even her death”.The letter came just 24 hours after the TV presenter ordered her lawyer to sue everyone “responsible for all the slanderous and malicious publicity, which has been carried out at my expense, as much in the Greek domain as in the Cypriot, via televisual or electronic formats, in printed, televised and electronic forms of media.”

Almost from day one of the murder, Skordelli’s name came up on a number of Greek websites and blogs offering theories about the murder.

Their remand for the other three suspects ends tomorrow, at which time police are expected to request a renewal. The so-called fourth suspect, 29-year-old Gregoris Xenofontos is wanted by police, who have issued European and international warrants for his capture. Xenofontos is believed to have departed for Moldova with his wife a few days after the murder.

thoughts on a murder

This past week someone important died in Greece. Actually he was murdered. Antis Hadjicostis was the son of Costis Hadjicostis, owner of Dias Media Group. A privately held media group. Presumably that means the station can air whatever views it likes.

Sigma TV is a commercial network in Cyprus [...eastern Mediterranean, south of Turkey and west of Syria and Lebanon] that commenced broadcasting on April 3, 1995. It is a private service and is currently the second-rated channel in Cyprus. Sigma TV is geared at a younger audience, with the focus on the 18-45 age group. It broadcasts a mix of original programmes as well as popular foreign programming. The current programming breakdown is as follows: Local- 40%, US- 15%, Greece- 5% and Latin American- 40%.

News programs include:

Tomes Sta Gegonota- Daily newcast with live reports and informative discussion with all the headlines from around the world. Me Agapi- Informative discussion on current affairs and key issues. From personal issues to problems affecting society as a whole. Etsi Apla… me tin Mairi Haritonos- Talkshow that examines economic issues affecting everyday life; unemployment, inequality, taxes- how people deal with these problems. Also a look at Cyprus’ role in the Global economy. Hosted by ?ary Haritonos, Tuesdays at 11:10pm

The killers escaped on a high speed motorcycle near the American and French embassies.

Police said the victim was shot twice at close range while entering his house, a short distance away from the American and French embassies in an exclusive part of Nicosia. The gunman got away on a high powered motorcycle driven by another man.

His father is considered a political king-maker.

The father of the victim is considered by United Nations officials in Cyprus and some western foreign embassies as a political king-maker who can exert influence on a large portion of Greek Cypriots in connection with a future solution of the Cyprus problem.

So the most obvious conclusion: someone is trying to send a message about which way to exert his influence on the Cyprus problem. But we don’t necessarily draw the most obvious conclusion, we just note it.

What is the Cyprus problem? Long story. Shorter:

In retrospect, Greek inhabitance of Cyprus that dates back to the Bronze age, shows us that this island consists of a religion, culture and language that is of Greek origin. However, we must also understand that the Turkish conquest also played a large role in creating Cyprus’s demography. Subsequently, the Greek-Cypriot majority and Turkish-Cypriot minority lived together, in peace and harmony, for hundreds of years.

However, we believe that two of the many things that led to the deterioration of peace and harmony should be highlighted. The first, the plan of “taksim” was engraved in the minds of the Turkish-Cypriots, which led them to believe, after many years of co-habitation, that things needed to change. The Turkish-Cypriots were led to believe that “taksim” was the only answer to their problems, even though no problem existed. [Taksim means division, partition, distribution in Turkish. - ed.]

Then, there was the 1960 Treaty of Guarantee. [Signed between Cyprus on one side and Greece, Britian, and Turkey on the other. - ed.] Here, Turkey was given “the right of joint or even unilateral action for the purpose of re-establishing the state of affairs created by the Treaty.” In the end, their actions were unilateral; however, they did not achieve the “purpose” of the Treaty. Instead, they achieved their own “purpose” which is to “occupy” a foreign, sovereign, and last but not least, the territory of an United Nations member.

I don’t know this Cyprus story but right away I notice it’s familiar. Colonial powers interfering and mucking around in other countries causing problems signing treaties and giving land that doesn’t belong to them to other people. In writing. Mind-viruses taking hold of people. Problems being CREATED.

Of course, hegemons create problems for long-term strategic reasons. They let the problems fester over generations, until people can no longer remember how it all started, until the history has been rewritten the bodies buried the keys lost… The problems fester as long as needed, which is as long as people need to be divided. Typically forever. Kick the can down the road forever, just like the Middle East “peace” “process.”

In more recent history, we know that Turkey has stood up to Israel. Turkey, specifically Erdogan, has taken a principled stand against Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians, over that other illegal occupation, and he has been very effective in diplomacy meeting with Iran, Syria, Lebanon and all the interested parties in world diplomacy, all while capturing the populist imagination. A serious crime. He truly showed Peres up last year by walking out at Davos. The Israelis will never get over it, as they proved just this past week.

Official sources in Tel Aviv said Erdogan had changed his attitude towards Israel since Operation Cast Lead. “This process started when Erdogan abandoned a debate with President Shimon Peres (in Davos), so actually what is being done in Jerusalem is less important than what is happening in Ankara,” one source said.

Evidently that was unforgivable. At the time, Israel gloated that Erdogan had shot himself in the foot and senior European diplomats would never let Turkey into the EU after this. And what is that all about anyway? Is it really a tribal thing?

In terms of foreign policy, the main obstacle to EU membership remains the unresolved issues between Turkey and EU member Greece….Equally as serious as the Cyprus issue is Turkey’s dispute with Greece over territorial rights and interests in the Aegean Sea. Although both Greece and Turkey are de jure allies in NATO, their conflicting claims brought them to the brink of war in 1986 and 1987. A fundamental source of contention is exploration rights to minerals, primarily oil, beneath the Aegean Sea. International law recognizes the right of a country to explore the mineral wealth on its own continental shelf. Greece and Turkey, however, have been unable to agree on what constitutes the Aegean continental shelf. …The issue of the right to control the airspace over the Aegean appears similarly intractable.

OK. So so far we can see a long-standing mess in Cyprus, having little to do with the people in power today, pitting the Turks and the Greeks for decades. And we have Erdogan pissing off Israel now. And all of a sudden, lo, there’s a flare-up in the Cyprus problem — an assassination — the son of a king-maker who owns an independent media company. Hold that thought.

Moving right along. Greece is a problem for the EU… a financial catastrophe dragging everyone down.

Jan. 14 (Bloomberg) — German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Greece’s mounting budget deficit risks hurting the euro, saying the currency faces a “very difficult phase.” Merkel, speaking at a private forum hosted by Die Welt newspaper yesterday, questioned the fiscal discipline of other countries using the euro, according to a transcript posted on the German government’s Web site today. “The Greek example can put us under great, great pressures,” she said, according to the transcript. “Who will tell the Greek parliament to please go ahead and pass a pension reform? I don’t know that they’ll be enthusiastic about Germany giving them instructions.” German lawmakers wouldn’t be happy if Greece told them what to do, she said. “So the euro is in a very difficult phase over the coming years.”

In Athens, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou announced plans to cut spending and raise revenue by about 10 billion euros ($14.5 billion) this year as part of a three-year plan adopted today to bring the European Union’s biggest budget deficit within the EU limit in 2012. “We will do whatever it takes,” Papandreou said in a televised speech to his Cabinet. “Our country can and is obliged to exit as soon as possible this vicious circle of misery. We will not retreat; we will proceed quickly.”

So in the very large picture, we see Turkey strong and relatively independent, while Greece is relatively weak and dependent, a situation that has been obvious to the casual observer for about a year.

Given all of that, let’s take a closer look at this murder and the events surrounding it.

1. The assassination has stirred up instability, according to politicians.

The assassination of Cyprus’ most powerful publisher stirred fears of rising instability Tuesday as ethnic Greek and Turkish leaders made a new push to reunify the war-divided Mediterranean island.… The spokesman said the gunman fled on a motorcycle driven by an accomplice. No shell casings were found. Police stressed that no evidence of a motive had emerged. But politicians said the crime appeared aimed at spurring instability at a time when the peace talks with Turkish Cypriots have sharpened political divisions between Greek Cypriot liberals and nationalists favoring a harder line.

Regarding the shell casings: “A sign of professional assassins who knew that these casings would easily identify the weapon used and who had plenty of time to collect them.”

2. Greek police say Hadjicostis was warned by an intelligence operative that his life was in danger.

NICOSIA (AP) – Police in Cyprus say it is unlikely that political motives lay behind the assassination of the country’s most powerful publisher. … Police spokesman Michalis Katsounotos said yesterday that a member of the island’s intelligence service had warned Hadjicostis that his life was in danger. Katsounotos said the investigation is proceeding in a “specific direction,” but did not elaborate.

If true, this dispenses with the most obvious conclusion noted up top, namely that someone wanted to send a strong message to the elder Hadjicostis, king-maker. Also note that the most obvious conclusion implicates Turkey, which would exacerbate tensions between the Greece and Turkey. Now who would want to smear Turkey? Hmm. Thinking…..

3. Three men have been arrested for the murder. Recall that no shell casings were found. Smart. No, wait. They were stupid.

Prosecutors said the evidence collected includes fingerprints on a motorcycle helmet visor found near the crime scene, tire treads matching a motorcycle at one suspect’s home and CCTV camera footage. An informant also testified of hearing the suspects boast about “a job that would earn them a lot of money,” and then about planning and carrying out the murder, Nicosia crimes unit chief Thomas Efthymiou said.

4. Actually, they pulled off a stunningly brazen murder if you consider all this, so they had to be either really smart, or really stupid, or doing an inside job:

Andy’s assassination came only hours after the inauguration of the so called intensive talks between President Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader M. Ali Talat.

His assassination took place almost on the doorstep of the American Embassy in Nicosia (He lived in a very near proximity). It was unprecedented for such a killing to take place “in front of the eyes” of the American Embassy and KYP offices (Cyprus Intelligence Service) which are also housed in the same immediate area.

The freedom with which the killers executed their crime, at a time people are still out and about, (early evening) in such a populated area in Nicosia with so many other Embassies and surveillance cameras, is indeed unprecedented.

The American Embassy as we all know is equipped with the most modern and sophisticated technology in intelligence and surveillance. For the killers to ignore this factor and relentlessly carry on with the execution of their mission creates a great number of crucial questions as to the identity of these assassins.

It has been said that the Police inquiries are investigating also economic criteria for the murder. However, economic criteria can easily connect or lead to political behind the scenes criteria and reasons. As we all know it is the business world that keeps or controls political matters….

5. From the same source, we learn about the DIAS publishing group’s role in shaping public opinion on important international matters:

DIAS publishing is an organisation that has held high the flag of resistance against the notorious Annan Plan and contributed proudly to its rejection by the people on 24 April 2004. The consortium with its newspaper, Radio and TV gave all its strength in enlightening the people on the parameters and definition of the Annan monstrosity and was proud for the results.

This result was not liked by the supporters of the Annan Plan, primarily the Turks and the British and Sir David Hannay did not miss the opportunity to blame certain journalists as those responsible for the big NO against the Annan Plan. He clearly meant Dias group (besides Antenna TV which also played a significant role in fighting against the Annan Plan) and all of us who campaigned from it against the Annan Plan. He actually vowed to revenge the Greek Cypriots when he stated “you have rejected it but we will keep on bringing it back until you accept”.

Aha there are the British again. Here you can read about the UN Annan Plan.

Its philosophy derives out of the existing Cyprus constitution that was drafted in 1960 by the British in order to cause deadlocks and subsequently havoc between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities in Cyprus with the overriding objective of retaining the two British military bases in Cyprus in Dekelia and in Akrotiri indefinitely.

…Nevertheless, all of the abovementioned politicians serve one very important (National Security) function that should never be undermined: They serve as the Greek Cypriot alibi to the European and International Public Opinions that the Greek/Greek Cypriot politicians have done ALL they could to convince (mislead) the people of Cyprus to vote FOR the UN Annan plan in the referenda of the 24 April 2004 in view of the pressures exercised by Washington (USA) and London (UK) in order to favor Ankara (Turkey).

Running both sides of the conflict, are we then? Support Turkey, but also support Greece. Keep the people embroiled in conflict. Perhaps I misunderstand.

September 7, 2009: The Greek people of Cyprus rejected their anathema in 2004 and they will do the same again. We are not going to surrender our country, our rights, our properties, our Churches, our memories neither for Hannay and his lot nor any of our lot to that matter that supports them so that they can de-criminise Turkey and facilitate her EU entry. We say NO. WE DO NOT FORGET THE THIEVES, INVADERS, RAPISTS, MURDERERS OF OUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS AND SNATCHERS OF OUR LAND.

Is it true there are only eight stories in the world? It seems like that sometimes.

Anyway, there are only two more items of interest right now:

1. A powerful explosion, blamed on leftists, went off at the Ministry of Press and Information in Athens Saturday. No one was hurt.

2. Erdogan to meet with Greek president in Abu Dhabi next week, after attending an energy summit.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayip Erdogan will meet with Greek President Karolos Papoulias next week in United Arab Emirates where he will attend an energy summit. Erdogan will make a speech at the 3rd World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi on Monday January 18. Following the summit meeting, Erdogan will have a meeting with Greek President Papoulias, Turkish officials said.

I would love to wrap this all up with some pithy case closed remark, but I can’t. All I can say is that we can almost always dismiss the obvious conclusions and look instead to the long narrative, the one dealing with Israel’s world hegemony. Sometimes it seems like the world is turning on Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Be careful man.

UPDATE: Israel to send Cabinet minister to Persian Gulf emirate of Abu Dhabi for first time (cough).

UPDATE: For our further edification, aangirfan explains the Mossad connection, providing many interesting links, such as this meeting which took place two days after the assassination:

5. On 13 and 14 January 2010, Israeli Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman visited Greek Cyprus. (Israeli FM begins official visit )

Greek Cyprus’s Foreign Minister Marcos Kyprianou said that the meeting allowed discussion on matters that would help Cyprus and Israel to improve on ‘excellent’ relations.

In August 2009, Turkey and Russia signed an agreement to construct a gas pipeline that is intended to run from Ceyhan in Turkey to Ashkelon in Israel, via a transit station in Karpasia in Turkish Cyprus. (Israeli FM begins official visit )