- Mysterious death of American journalist Selena Shim in Turkey
Posted by Evan Barlett, The Independent, 20 October 2014
Serena Shim, a broadcast journalist for state-funded Iranian news service Press TV, has died in Turkey just days after she reported being accused of being a foreign spy.
The journalist died in a car accident in Suruc, near the Syrian border, where she had reported heavily on the conflict between Isis and Kurdish forces in nearby Kobani and the subsequent response, or lack thereof, from the Turkish government.
by VIJAY PRASHAD, Counterpunch 21 October 2014
My twitter feed has become a memorial for the death of journalists from Iraq to Turkey. The latest tragedy was the death of Serena Shim, a US citizen who is of Lebanese origin and worked for Press TV. Last year I had met Serena in Beirut. It is commonplace for journalists to meet each other, to learn where one has been and whether there are stories out there that help give wider context and confirmation for stories that one follows. It was in that context that I met Serena, who had been covering the conflict in Ukraine, Iraq and of course Lebanon. She was a warm person, very smart and very well informed. Her bravery impressed me. Others of her ilk and of her age bracket include the fabulous Radwan Mortada (al-Akhbar) and Jenan Moussa (al-Ain). These are reporters who go into dangerous situations with no “security advisors” – I worry for them daily.
Ten days ago, Serena’s employer Press TV sent her to Turkey to cover the story of the Kobane conflict and to look into the allegations of Turkish help to the Islamic State. This is a story that takes one to Urfa, a city that is linked to Syria through the border crossing at Akçakale. At Urfa’s Balıklıgöl State Hospital, evidence for the treatment of Islamic State fighters is not camouflaged – it is there in plain sight. The Islamic State wounded from the battle of Kobane cross over for treatment here. Any journalist who covered this aspect of the war knows that Turkish intelligence (Milli İstihbarat Teşkilatı) has been mighty skittish about the story. They are quick to show up, and quick to make gestures of ill will.
Published on Jan 1, 2013
This investigative report by PressTV’s “In Focus” reporter Serena Shim tries to uncover the pivotal role that the Turkish government is playing in the armed terrorist uprising against the Syrian government and its people. From opening its borders so Sunni hardline religious extremists from all over the world can illegally cross into Syria, to supplying them with weapons, funding, food, and shelter, Turkey’s Erdogan-led government has been acting as a rogue state, a state-sponsor of terror in every sense of the word.
The above link is to an article from the webpage of the Committee to Protect Journalists, August 8 2014 . It is not directly related to Selena Shim, but is relevant in the wider context of lack of press freedom in Turkey.
“We condemn the campaign against Amberin Zaman and call on Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to stop bashing his critics,” CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Nina Ognianova said. “Anti-press rhetoric coming from the highest echelons of power translates into real risk of retaliation for those singled out. Public officials in a democracy must be tolerant to views and opinions they find unpalatable.”
- US Vice-President on US allies arming terrorist groups
By Sharmine Narwani, Oct 4 2014
Question: In retrospect do u believe the United States should have acted earlier in Syria, and if not why is now the right moment?
Biden: The answer is ‘no’ for 2 reasons. One, the idea of identifying a moderate middle has been a chase America has been engaged in for a long time. We Americans think in every country in transition there is a Thomas Jefferson hiding beside some rock – or a James Madison beyond one sand dune. The fact of the matter is the ability to identify a moderate middle in Syria was – there was no moderate middle because the moderate middle are made up of shopkeepers, not soldiers – they are made up of people who in fact have ordinary elements of the middle class of that country. And what happened was – and history will record this because I’m finding that former administration officials, as soon as they leave write books which I think is inappropriate, but anyway, (laughs) no I’m serious – I do think it’s inappropriate at least , you know, give the guy a chance to get out of office. And what my constant cry was that our biggest problem is our allies – our allies in the region were our largest problem in Syria. The Turks were great friends – and I have the greatest relationship with Erdogan, which I just spent a lot of time with – the Saudis, the Emiratis, etc. What were they doing? They were so determined to take down Assad and essentially have a proxy Sunni-Shia war, what did they do? They poured hundreds of millions of dollars and tens, thousands of tons of weapons into anyone who would fight against Assad except that the people who were being supplied were Al Nusra and Al Qaeda and the extremist elements of jihadis coming from other parts of the world. Now you think I’m exaggerating – take a look. Where did all of this go? So now what’s happening? All of a sudden everybody’s awakened because this outfit called ISIL which was Al Qaeda in Iraq, which when they were essentially thrown out of Iraq, found open space in territory in eastern Syria, work with Al Nusra who we declared a terrorist group early on and we could not convince our colleagues to stop supplying them. So what happened? Now all of a sudden – I don’t want to be too facetious – but they had seen the Lord. Now we have – the President’s been able to put together a coalition of our Sunni neighbors, because America can’t once again go into a Muslim nation and be seen as the aggressor – it has to be led by Sunnis to go and attack a Sunni organization. So what do we have for the first time?
3. An overview of the mess Erdogan of Turkey has created for his country
By Judy Bello, peace activist, retired software development engineer, 21 October 2014 (note useful links in article)
… the current strategy is a torment for Turkish President Erdogan, and undermines his position, which has put Turkey in a compromised position with regard to the foreign fighters. At the same time, the US strategy of support for the Kurdish fighters in Kobane is also at odds with Turkish policy for managing the Kurds, who comprise a minority of more than 20% of the Turkish population, and lay claim to nearly 1/3 of the Turkish territory. For a century, Turkish governments have been trying to erase the Kurds from their population. Over the last decades, militant Kurdish freedom fighters have been a serious problem for Turkey. Unlike the Iraqi Kurds who inhabit their ancestral lands, many of the Kurds in Syria came there as refugees from Turkey. Although the Erdogan government has been working on peace and reconciliation with the Kurds, the last thing they want is an independent Kurdistan in Syria allied with the militant forces in southern Turkey.
Worse, Turkey is flooded with FSA, ISIS and Al-Nusra fighters. Erdogan initially refused to join the US program against ISIS (and maybe some day Assad), He demanded a no-fly-zone across northern Syria and a new US commitment to ‘take out’ the Assad government, a demand which has not been approved. Finally, after ‘negotiations’ with the Americans, he has agreed to allow US forces to vet, train and arm more Syrian ground forces in Turkey. There are many reasons why the US sees a no-fly-zone is a dubious plan at present, and it has been set aside for a future date by US decision makers. But, for Turkey, it is a survival issue. As distressing as US support for the Kurds is to Turkey, there is a second issue. With numerous ISIS fighters in Turkey, they are already threatening to turn on their facilitators. If Turkey were to openly attack ISIS in Syria, they are well positioned to retaliate in Turkey.
- On US arming ‘moderate’ rebels in Syria
BY HANNAH ALLAM
McClatchy Washington BureauOctober 15, 2014
WASHINGTON — John Allen, the retired Marine general in charge of coordinating the U.S.-led coalition’s response to the Islamic State, confirmed Wednesday what Syrian rebel commanders have complained about for months – that the United States is ditching the old Free Syrian Army and building its own local ground force to use primarily in the fight against the Islamist extremists.
“At this point, there is not formal coordination with the FSA,” Allen told reporters at the State Department.
By MARK MAZZETTIOCT. 14, 2014, New York Times
WASHINGTON — The Central Intelligence Agency has run guns to insurgencies across the world during its 67-year history — from Angola to Nicaragua to Cuba. The continuing C.I.A. effort to train Syrian rebels is just the latest example of an American president becoming enticed by the prospect of using the spy agency to covertly arm and train rebel groups.
An internal C.I.A. study has found that it rarely works.
- Survey: Lebanese Christian support for Hezbollah
Published Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Two-thirds of Lebanon’s Christians believe Hezbollah is protecting Lebanon from the threat of takfiris (extremist groups), a recent survey by the Beirut Center for Research and Information revealed.
They survey asked people about Hezbollah’s intervention in Syria, replacing Hezbollah fighters with UN peacekeepers on Lebanon’s eastern borders with Syria, Hezbollah’s efficacy in foiling infiltration attempts by the extremist groups, and the goals of the US-led airstrikes in Syria and Iraq.
The center surveyed Christians in particular due to the fact that Christians in Syria and Iraq were among the groups recently targeted by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The data, which was gathered via phone from October 15th to the 17th, also took into consideration demographic distribution, age and gender.
The survey revealed that 66 percent of Christians support Hezbollah’s military intervention in Syria, in comparison to only 39 percent in June 2013 and 53 percent in February 2014.
Moreover, 58 percent of those surveyed are against replacing members of Hezbollah with international peacekeeping forces, such as INIFIL, to counter attacks by extremist groups on the eastern borders with Syria.
- The French involvement in Syria’s crisis
“The Roads of Damascus”: How the Elysee manipulated chemical weapons reports
By: Sabah Ayoub
Published Monday, October 13, 2014
- The pressure on journalists from intelligence bodies
Dr Udo Ulfkotte journalist and author on RT Blows the whistle on Fake News!!
RT video interview Oct
A top German Journalist and Editor Dr. Udo Ulfkatte has just gone public with some shocking admissions. He basically admitted what all of us who read the alternative media such as BeforeItsNews have known for a long time – the entire mainstream media is totally fake! He went into a very detailed talk in this video and spilled the beans about everything! He talked about how the CIA gets control over all of the major journalists. He is sick of the lying and decided to go public with everything he knows. He’s already had 3 heart attacks and decided he didn’t care anymore about what they would do to him! He’s a real hero in my book!
- UK MP speaks out against Israeli settlements on Palestinian territory
Sir Alan Duncan: Middle East Peace: The Principles behind the Process
- A Malaysian scholar and peace activist’s take on Syria
Custodian of the custodian of the custodian
Not all is as it seems when it comes to the vilification of the Syrian government
By Chandra Muzaffar, Malaysian scholar and President of the International Movement for a Just World (JUST), Al-Jazeera, August 2012
Why has the Muslim world as a whole, especially its elites and its intelligentsia, adopted such a blatantly biased and starkly unjust position on Syria? Is it because many are ignorant of what is really happening in that country, given the orientation of the mainstream media?
Or is it because many Muslims revere the Saudi monarch so much – he is after all the custodian of the two holy mosques – that they are convinced that in seeking the elimination of Bashar al-Assad he is doing what is morally right? Or is it because many Muslim elites are beholden to Saudi wealth – and Qatari largesse – that they are prepared to acquiesce in their wishes?
Or is it also because of certain sectarian sentiments that Muslims appear to be incensed with the Bashar government? It is these sentiments that I shall now explore.
10. The terror of IS is nothing new in Syria
Graphic Images: 13 bodies in Orontes River in Hama.wmv
Miscellaneous – Of Interest
10 more questions Russian military pose to Ukraine, US over MH17 crash
Published time: July 21, 2014 23:23
Washington Post, “I told the world the Soviets shot it down in cold blood. I was wrong” by Alvin A. Synder 1 September 1996