Monthly Archives: April 2018

FBI offers $1M reward for info on American journalist Austin Tice, missing in Syria

austin_tice_billboard

FBI offers $1M reward for info on American journalist Austin Tice, missing in Syria

A picture shows freelance journalist Austin Tice in Cairo in March 2012. CHRISTY WILCOX/AFP/GETTYIMAGES
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The FBI is offering a $1 million reward “for information leading directly to the safe location, recovery, and return of Austin Bennett Tice ” CBS News’ Andres Triay reports. Tice, a former Marine and an American journalist from Houston, Texas, disappeared in August 2012 while covering Syria’s civil war. A video released a month later showed him blindfolded and held by armed men saying “Oh, Jesus.” He has not been heard from since.

Tice, a freelance reporter, was working for McClatchy at the time he was kidnapped. He had done work for CBS News as well as other outlets. He disappeared shortly after his 31st birthday.

The circumstances surrounding Tice’s disappearance remain a mystery. It’s not clear what entity is holding him and no ransom demand has ever been made.

Many believe he is being held by the Syrian government or its affiliated groups, although that has not been proven, CBS News’ Triay reports.

The FBI did not say why it was offering the reward money now, only that it was unrelated to any specific event or new piece of information. An FBI spokeswoman would not say how officials settled on the $1 million sum, stating that reward payment amounts are based on a number of factors including “the severity of the danger or injury” to a U.S. citizen and the risk to the source providing the information.

Tice’s parents have said they believe he is still alive and the U.S. and Syrian governments have assured them they are working to secure his safe release.

© 2018 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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Suspicion grows over death of journalist investigating Russian mercenaries in Syria

Maksim Borodin

Suspicion grows over death of journalist investigating Russian mercenaries in Syria

Friends of a journalist who investigated Russian mercenaries fighting in Syria have expressed their suspicion over his mysterious death.

Maksim Borodin gained a reputation for exposes and it has been suggested his latest reporting may have led to his death.

Borodin died on April 14 from injuries sustained in a fall from his five-storey balcony in Yekaterinburg, eastern Russia.

The 32-year-old had reported on the death of Russian mercenaries working for the private firm Wagner in Syria. They had been killed in US airstrikes in February 2018.

It is believed the Russian government did not want the details of the mercenaries to be published.
It is believed the Russian government did not want the details of the mercenaries to be published. Credit: ITV News

He published information on those involved for the news service Novy Den.

His death has been ruled as suicide, but questions remain after there were no eyewitnesses and an autopsy report show no trace of alcohol or drugs in his system.

The balcony from where Borodin fell.
The balcony from where Borodin fell. Credit: ITV News

A friend told ITV News that he received a phone call from Borodin the evening before his death.

Vyacheslav Bashkov said, “It was five in the morning when he called and asked me to call a lawyer.”

“He said there were people in camouflage outside his door. He thought at any moment they were going to come in and demand to search his apartment.”

Colleagues at Novy Den are in disbelief and have kept Borodin's desk clear.
Colleagues at Novy Den are in disbelief and have kept Borodin’s desk clear. Credit: ITV News

It would not be the first violent death of a journalist in Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

ITV News spoke to the son of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya who was shot dead in central Moscow in 2006.

Demonstrations followed the murder of Anna Politkovskaya - but her son believes nothing has changed.
Demonstrations followed the murder of Anna Politkovskaya – but her son believes nothing has changed.

She was a critic of the President and opposed the Chechen conflict.

Her son, Ilya, said, “I can tell you without question, the rights of journalists and freedom of speech have worsened in the decade since the death of my mother.”

Borodin was buried beside his father - with colleagues placing newspapers and quills on his coffin.
Borodin was buried beside his father – with colleagues placing newsprint and quills on his coffin. Credit: ITV News

On Wednesday, the German government called for an investigation into the journalist’s death.

Foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Adebahr said “it’s not a good development if the space for critical and independent press in Russia gets smaller.”

Don’t scrap Iran deal,500 MPs from UK, France and Germany urge US

Donald Trump

Don’t scrap Iran deal, MPs from UK, France and Germany urge US

Joint statement published in Guardian calls for rethink before 12 May deadline set by Trump

Donald Trump
 Donald Trump is concerned that Iran could obtain nuclear capability at the end of the 10-year deal. Photograph: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

More than 500 parliamentarians from France, Germany and the UK have written to their US counterparts urging them to persuade Donald Trump not to abandon the Iran nuclear deal.

In a joint statement published in the Guardian, Der Spiegel, the New York Times and Le Monde, they urged a White House rethink before the 12 May deadline set by Trump to pull out of the deal, known as the joint comprehensive plan of action (JCPOA), unless Europe can come up with a new policy that will meet his concerns.

“The US government threatens to abandon the JCPOA, although Iran fulfils its obligations under the agreement,” the letter said. They warn that “an exit from the US would have fatal consequences”.

France, Germany and the UK negotiated the landmark deal in 2015 that lifted sanctions on Iran in exchange for strict limits on its nuclear programme, and are using all their leverage to try to persuade Trump that the deal is salvageable.

“The short-term impact of this move would put an end to Iran’s nuclear programme controls, which could provide a new source of devastating conflict in the Middle East and beyond,” it said.

But it said even more serious were the long-term risks: damage to the credibility of the signatories as partners in international negotiations and more generally to diplomacy as a tool to secure lasting peace and security.

“Leaving the agreement would diminish the value of all the promises and threats our countries make,” the parliamentarians said.

They added that if the deal broke down it would be nigh on impossible to assemble another grand coalition built around sanctions against Iran.

DHS: Fears over journalist database ‘fit for tin foil hat wearing … conspiracy theorists’

home land security

DHS: Fears over journalist database ‘fit for tin foil hat wearing … conspiracy theorists’

(CNN)The Department of Homeland Security is pushing back on reaction to reports that it’s seeking access to a database of journalists and bloggers, arguing that the move is “standard practice.”

A solicitation posted to the Federal Business Opportunities website, the main contracting website used by the federal government, outlines a number of requests from DHS related to media monitoring — including 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week access to a “media influencer” database that would be made up of reporters, editors and bloggers.
In a Friday column that was tweeted out by the Committee to Protect JournalistsForbes writer Michelle Fabio referred to the move as “today’s installment of ‘I’m Not Terrified, You Are,'” and said the details of the plan “are enough to cause nightmares of constitutional proportions, particularly as the freedom of the press is under attack worldwide.”
A DHS spokesperson took to Twitter on Friday to emphasize that the request is nothing out of the ordinary.
“Despite what some reporters may suggest, this is nothing more than the standard practice of monitoring current events in the media,” DHS spokesman Tyler Houlton tweeted after the Committee to Protect Journalists tweeted out a link to a Forbes article about the request. “Any suggestion otherwise is fit for tin foil hat wearing, black helicopter conspiracy theorists.”
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DHS is seeking a contractor that can provide “traditional and social media monitoring,” which will help its national protection and programs directorate track reporting and media coverage about the department, according to the solicitation.
“Given this administration’s denigration of most media outlets, I understand why the timing of this bid might look suspicious,” John Kirby, a CNN military and diplomatic analyst, said in an e-mail. “But from what I can tell, this is nothing more than an attempt at media analysis. It’s not at all different from what I have seen other agencies undertake to better understand the communication landscape. In fact, it would be PR malpractice not to put something like this together.”
  • PAID CONTENT

PHOTOS: Gazans Protest Again; Palestinian Officials Say 8 Killed By Israel https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2018/04/06/600157230/photos-gazans-protest-again-palestinian-officials-say-7-killed-by-israel

palestinina injured

PHOTOS: Gazans Protest Again; Palestinian Officials Say 8 Killed By Israel

Updated Saturday 9:42 a.m. ET

Palestinian health officials say eight Palestinian protesters were shot dead by Israeli fire at border demonstrations Friday, including a Palestinian photojournalist wearing a protective vest marked, “Press.” This caps a week of the largest demonstrations and worst violence that Gaza has seen in years.

The Israeli army had no immediate comment on the deaths.

Tthe total death toll from a week of protests is at least 29, according to Palestinian health officials.

On Friday, thousands of Palestinians once again gathered to demonstrate near the border with Israel “for the right to return to lands in today’s Israel,” as NPR’s Daniel Estrin reported from the scene.

An injured Palestinian protester is carried by fellow demonstrators during a protest east of Khan Yunis in Gaza.

Said Khatib /AFP/Getty Images

Palestinians say this is a peaceful demonstration. In a series of protest encampments, families fly kites and food trucks are parked to support the demonstration.

Israel accuses the Hamas militant group, which controls Gaza, of trying to turn the border area into a combat zone. Daniel said he heard gunfire and saw tear gas in the area immediately next to the border. Black smoke billowed from the area, he said, as young Palestinians brought tires down to the border to burn. Some threw rocks at the soldiers.

Palestinian demonstrators burned tires in order to create a smoke screen to block the view of Israel forces.

Mahmud Hams/AFP/Getty Images

“Palestinians are actually calling today the ‘Day of Tires,’ because they said they were going to burn tires to create a smokescreen so that Israeli soldiers on the other side of the border fence wouldn’t be able to see them,” Daniel added.

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Among those reported wounded today was a Palestinian photojournalist, as Daniel reported. “Photos show him wearing a protective vest marked PRESS.”

Palestinian youth brought tires close to the border to burn during Friday’s protests.

Mahmud Hams /AFP/Getty Images

Israel maintains it is simply protecting its border and its troops. It has released video that appears to show several Palestinians trying to break through the border fence.

Rights groups have criticized Israel for disproportionate use of force against people who pose no immediate threat. Videos circulated on social media appear to show Israeli forces firing at Palestinians some distance away from the fence.

And while Hamas is vocally backing these demonstrations, which are intended to last six weeks, many Palestinians are participating because of the dismal living conditions in Gaza.

The area has been under blockade by Israel and Egypt for a decade. Gazans get only a few hours of electricity every day and have extremely limited water. The unemployment rate is at more than 40 percent.

Israeli security forces deployed near the Israeli border with the southern Gaza Strip watch smoke rising from the Palestinian village of Khuzaa.

Menahem Kahana/AFP/Getty Images

“Palestinians said last week when the protest began, hundreds were injured by Israeli fire. Israel has disputed that, said that only tens of Palestinians were injured,” Daniel reported. At a hospital he visited – one of many treating wounded people in Gaza – “they said that they had had at least 100 people in surgery for serious wounds.”

Protest organizers are vowing to continue demonstrating for six weeks, until mid-May.

https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2018/04/06/600157230/photos-gazans-protest-again-palestinian-officials-say-7-killed-by-israel

Palestinian Journalist Wearing Press Jacket Killed by Israeli Army in Gaza

Murtaja killed

Association of N. American (Canada_US ) Ethnic Journalists and writers condemn killing Palestinian Photo Journalist  Yaser Murtaja  by Israel Forces.

We call on Netanyahu government to bring who killed the journalist before court of justice immediatley.

April 7 -2018

Murtaja killedMurtaja with rabbit

Palestinian Journalist Wearing Press Jacket Killed by Israeli Army in Gaza

The photographer Yaser Murtaja was shot in the chest and four additional journalists were injured by live fire. Israeli army: We did not intend to shoot journalists, circumstances under investigation

A Palestinian journalist shot Friday during clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli forces at the Gaza-Israel border died of his wounds later Friday night. The journalist, Yaser Murtaja, can be seen in photos soon after he was shot wearing a protective jacket labeled “PRESS”. Four other journalists were injured by live fire during the demonstrations, one of them critically.

Murtaga, 30, was shot in the abdomen as he covered demonstrations Friday east of Gaza City. According to the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate, Murtaja was shot by gunfire while standing 350 meters from the border fence. The Israeli army has said in response: “The IDF does not intend to shoot at journalists, and the circumstances in which journalists were allegedly injured by IDF gunfire are unknown and are being investigated.”

About a month ago, Murtaja wrote on Facebook that he had never left Gaza, sharing an aerial photograph of the Gaza port. Thousands attended his funeral in the Strip.

Palestinian journalists injured covering mass protest in Gaza Strip

Palestinian protesters cover from teargas fired by Israeli soldiers during clashes with Israeli troops along the Gaza Strip border with Israel, east of Khan Younis, Gaza Strip, Friday, March 30, 2018. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

We at North American Ethnic Journalists and WRITERS CALL ON ISRAELI ARMY TO RESPECT JOURNALISTS WHO ARE COVERING THE EVENTS .

Palestinian journalists injured covering mass protest in Gaza Strip
April 2, 2018

 

Beirut, April 2, 2018 — Israeli authorities should independently and credibly investigate reports that Israeli security forces injured journalists covering protests in the Gaza Strip on March 30, 2018, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
At least 10 Palestinian journalists were injured while covering mass protests on the Gaza border, according to the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate (PJS), the Palestinian press freedom group Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedom (MADA), the regional press freedom group Center for Defending the Freedom of Journalists (CFJ), and news reports.
Thousands of Palestinians joined the protest in Gaza Strip on March 30 against Israel’s refusal to allow Palestinian refugees to return to their pre-1948 homes, news reports said. At least 17 Palestinians have been killed and 1,400 injured in the protest.
“Journalists should be able to cover demonstrations without fearing for their safety,” CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Sherif Mansour said from Washington D.C. “We call on Israeli officials to hold to account any security personnel who commit violence against journalists.”
Freelance journalist Ahmed Salem Muammar was hit in his lower abdomen by a live round in an area east of the city of Khan Younis, according to MADA, the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate, and CFJ.
Muammar told MADA that he was leaving the site of the demonstrations along with his colleague Hatem Omar, a photographer for the Xinhua News Agency, after having covered the protests when he was shot in his abdomen. “By chance I was very close to an ambulance that took me to Nasser Hospital. There were 14 shrapnel in my lower abdomen, I underwent a three-hour surgery, where 30 cm of intestine was removed, bleeding was controlled and I am still under observation in hospital,” he said, according to MADA’s website.
Wisam Mousa, photographer for the Deir al-Balah-based local radio station Fursan al-Aradah, was hit by live rounds in both legs while he was covering the protests from afar at the refugee camp of Al-Bureij, according to MADA, the PJS, and his employer.
“I was more than 400 meters away from the border fence, and while I was standing near the ambulances, I was deliberately targeted and shot with two live fire- bullets, one of which penetrated my right leg and came out of it, whereas, the other bullet penetrated my left leg causing a severe rupture in my leg muscle- just below the knee,” Mousa told MADA.
Israeli Defense Forces did not immediately reply to CPJ’s email requesting comment.
Hala al-Hassanat, reporter for the Gaza-based Nahar News Agency, told CPJ that she was covering the march at Al-Bureij refugee camp in the evening when Israeli soldiers began shooting at civilians. She ran away from the shooting and fell over a pile of stones, breaking her left leg. She was transferred for treatment to the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital.
Mahmoud Adnan Mdouj, a photographer for the media production company Media Town, was hit by a live round in his right leg, which was broken as a result, while he was covering the protest march behind the protesters, about 500 meters away from the border fence, according to MADA and pictures posted on Facebook by other Palestinian journalists.
Ahmed Kafa, a photographer for the local news website Deir al-Balah Media, was injured in his right leg by a live round while he was covering the protests in eastern Khan Younis, according to the local press freedom group Journalist Support Committee, news reports, and his employer.
Journalists Amina Dabash, reporter for the independent news agency Media Field Unit, Mohammed Joudeh, reporter for the Palestinian Authority’s official broadcaster Palestine TV, and freelance photographer Hussein Abu Khreis were hit directly in their legs by tear gas canisters in Al-Bureij, Rafah, and eastern Khan Younis, respectively, according to the PJS, news reports, and Facebook posts.
Ali Yousef al-Adwy, reporter and cameraman for the local Lajee TV Channel, was hit by a bullet on his left leg, slightly below his knee, while he was covering the protests near the Gaza border with Israel, according to his employer, pictures of Al-Adwy posted on Facebook, and the CFJ.
For his part, Loay Nahd al-Ghoul, a reporter for Palestine TV, inhaled tear gas while he was covering the protests in eastern Gaza, according to the PJS and a post on his Facebook account.

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