Category Archives: Europe/Australia/New Zeland

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.”

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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.

Terror of Azeri exiled journalist critic of Ilham Aliyev in France

namazov_1323561038

Association of North American ( CANADA _USA ) Ethnic Journalists and writers condemn terror of exiled Azeri journalist Rahim Namazov who was hospitalized and his wife who killed by gun man in France. our condolences to family , Friends.
We Call on French government to bring those who ordered and those who committed the crime before court of Law very soon.
www.anaj.org
March 30 -2018

Rahim Namazov

Gunman shoots exiled Azeri journalist in southern France
TOULOUSE, France (Reuters) – A gunman shot and gravely wounded an exiled Azeri journalist and killed his wife near the southern French city of Toulouse on Friday, in an incident the local mayor said appeared to be a settling of political scores.

Rahim Namazov was an outspoken critic of the Azeri political leadership and served time in prison before seeking exile in France in 2010.

elhaof
In a video posted on YouTube in December that year, Namazov said he was jailed after writing stories about brutality against soldiers in units of the Azeri military. He said he had spent six months in solitary confinement.

“It’s the journalistic profession, the father of a family and the freedom of the press that has been attacked today,” Karine Michelet-Traval, the mayor of Colomiers where the shooting occurred, said in a statement. In separate comments to La Depeche newspaper, she said: “You can’t help but think this was a settling of scores.”

Namazov’s wife was killed in the shooting. A police source said she had been shot in the head, apparently at close range. Witnesses spoke of hearing multiple gunshots, local media reported.

The local prosecutor is due to make a statement at 16h00 (1400 GMT).

azeri journalsit

Human Rights Watch said last year the Azeri government continued its crackdown on dissenting voices and that reports of torture persisted. It also said independent media outlets faced harassment and closure and critical journalists faced threats and intimidation aimed at silencing them.

Slovakia’s PM resigns amid scandal over murder of journalist

slovakia PM

Slovakia’s PM resigns amid scandal over murder of journalist

Robert Fico’s position became untenable after coalition partners withdrew from government

Slovakia’s prime minister, Robert Fico, has resigned after more than two weeks of political turmoil and public protests sparked by the murder of an investigative journalist.

slovakian journalistslovakia PM

The country’s president, Andrej Kiska, accepted the resignation at a ceremony and mandated Fico’s deputy, Peter Pellegrini, to form a new government.

The position of Fico, who served as prime minister for 10 of the past 12 years, appeared untenable after one of his junior coalition partners announced this week that it would withdraw from the government and support early elections unless he went. He agreed to resign on Wednesday after two days of talks with coalition leaders.

“I told the president: ‘Rest assured, I’m not leaving politics, I want to be an active party leader,’” Fico told a news conference on Thursday. “My role will be to have the new prime minister’s back and push for priorities that are important for [his party] Smer: a clear pro-European and pro-Nato orientation.”

Fico’s resignation comes weeks into a political crisis sparked by the murder in February of Jan Kuciak and his fiancee, Martina Kušnírová. Kuciak had been investigating alleged mafia infiltration into the country, with questions raised about Fico’s judgment after it emerged that one of his close aides, was the former business partner of an alleged member of the Calabrian ’Ndrangheta clan.

Fico caused unease in some quarters in the immediate aftermath of the murders with a misjudged press conference during which he posed with €1m in cash and appeared to imply that he had taken personal control of the investigation.

 

UK partly responsible for thousdans Yemen civilian deaths by support Saudi invasion , says Labour

jermy corbin

UK partly responsible for Yemen civilian deaths, says Labour

Jeremy Corbyn’s spokesman says government has some complicity due to relationship with Saudis

Labour has said the British government must be held partly responsible for civilian casualties in Yemen, after Jeremy Corbyn challenged Theresa May over the lavish welcome for the visiting Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman.

may - saudi prince

The Labour leader used prime minister’s questions to accuse May of failing to stand up to the Saudis over human rights abuses and possible war crimes in Yemen.

May defended her links with Bin Salman, who will meet the Queen, Prince Charles and Prince William, as well as senior ministers, during his three-day visit. She said engagement was the only way to have influence over the Saudis.

But Corbyn urged the prime minister to stop arms sales to Saudi Arabia over its intervention in Yemen, which has killed thousands of civilians and worsened a humanitarian catastrophe, and take the crown prince to task on human rights.

UK hypocrisy , double standard on Arab Dictators

may - saudi prince

UK  hypocrisy , double standard on Arab Dictators -If I were the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, I’d be cynical about this state visit
The truth is, you just can’t tell who your real friends are these days

Robert Fisk @indyvoices

March 9-2018-

may - saudi prince

Thank heavens Theresa May is giving a warm welcome today to the illustrious Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, His Royal Majesty Mohammad bin Salman. For it is meet and right that she should do so. His Royal Highness is a courageous Arab reformer, keen to drag his wealthy nation into the 21st century in a raft of promises – women’s rights, massive economic restructuring, moderate Islam, further intelligence gathering on behalf of the West and an even more vital alliance in the “War on Terror”.

Thank God, however, that Theresa May – in her infinite wisdom – is not going to waste her time greeting a head-chopping and aggressive Arab Crown Prince whose outrageous war in Yemen is costing thousands of lives and tainting the United Kingdom with his shame by purchasing millions of dollars in weapons from May to use against the people of Yemen, who is trying to destroy his wealthy Arab brothers in Qatar and doing his best to persuade the US, Britain and sundry other Westerners to join the Saudi war against the Shias of the Middle East.

You see the problem? When it comes to money, guns and power, we will cuddle up to any Arab autocrat, especially if our masters in Washington, however insane, feel the same way about him – and it will always be a “him”, won’t it? And we will wash our hands with them if or when they have ceased to be of use, or no longer buy our weapons or run out of cash or simply get overthrown. Thus I can feel some sympathy for young Mohammad.

I have to add – simply in terms of human rights – that anyone who has to listen to Theresa “Let’s Get On With It” May for more than a few minutes has my profound sympathy. The Saudi foreign minister, Adel al-Jubeir, a very intelligent Richelieu, must surely feel the same impatience when he listens to the patently dishonest ramblings of his opposite number. Boris Johnson’s contempt and then love for the Balfour Declaration in the space of less than 12 months is recognised in the Arab world as the cynical charade that it is.

Human rights groups, Amnesty and the rest are angrily calling Crown Prince Mohammad to account this week. So are the inevitable protesters. Any constable who raises a baton to keep order will be “doing the Saudis’ work”, we can be sure. But I fear that the Crown Prince should be far more concerned by the Government which is now grovelling to his leadership. For he is dealing with a Western power, in this case the Brits. And the only advice he should be given in such circumstances is: mind your back.

A walk, now, down memory lane. When Gaddafi overthrew King Idris, the Foreign Office smiled upon him. A fresh face, a safe pair of hands with an oil-bearing nation whose wealth we might consume, we thought Gaddafi might be our man. The Americans even tipped him off about a counter-coup, just as we much later helped Gaddafi round up his opponents for torture. Then Gaddafi decided to be an anti-colonial nationalist and eventually got mixed up with the IRA and a bomb in a West Berlin nightclub – and bingo, he became a super-terrorist. Yet come the “War on Terror” and the invasion of Iraq, Gaddafi was kissed by the Venerable Blair and became a super-statesman again. Until the 2011 revolution, at which point he had to become a super-terrorist once more, bombed by Nato and murdered by his own people.

Talking of Iraq, Saddam had a similar experience. At first we rather liked the chap and the Americans even tipped him off on the location of his communist opponents. He was a head-chopper, to be sure, but as long as he invaded the right county, he was a super-statesman. Hence we helped him in his invasion of Iran in 1980 but declared him a super-terrorist in 1990 when he invaded the wrong country: Kuwait. And he ended up, like Gaddafi, killed by his own people, albeit that the Americans set up the court which decided to top him.

Yasser Arafat – not that we even think of him these days – was a Palestinian super-terrorist in Beirut. He was the centre of World Terror until he shook hands with Yitzhak Rabin and Bill Clinton, at which point he became a super-statesman. But the moment he refused to deviate from the Oslo agreement and accept Israeli hegemony over the West Bank – he was never offered “90 per cent” of it, as the American media claimed – he was on the way to super-terrorism again. Surrounded and bombarded in his Ramallah hovel, he was airlifted to a Paris military hospital where he conveniently died. The Israelis had already dubbed him “our bin Laden”, a title they later tried to confer on Arafat’s luckless successor Mahmoud Abbas – who was neither a super-terrorist nor a super-statesman but something worse: a failure

 

It should not be necessary to run through the other Arab transmogrifications from evil to good to evil again. Nasser, who helped to overthrow the corrupt King Farouk, quickly became a super-terrorist when he nationalised the Suez Canal and was called the “Mussolini of the Nile” by Eden – a slightly measly comparison when you remember that Saddam became the “Hitler of the Tigris” in 1990. Khomeini was a potential super-statesman in his Paris exile when the Shah was overthrown. Then he became a super-terrorist-in-chief once he established the Islamic Republic. The French Jacobins thought that Hafez al-Assad was a potential super-statesman but decided he was a super-terrorist when Bashar al-Assad – lionised in France after his father’s death – went to war on his opponents, thus becoming a super-terrorist himself. The Brits quickly shrugged off their loyalties to Omani and Qatari emirs when their sons staged coups against them.

Thus Mohammad bin Salman, may his name be praised, might be reminded by Adel al-Jubeir as he settles down in London: “Memento homo”, the gladiator’s reminder to every emperor that he is only “a man”. What if the Yemen war is even bloodier, what if the Saudi military become increasingly disenchanted with the war – which is almost certainly why the Crown Prince staged a putsch among his commanders last month – and what if his Vision2030 proves a Saudi South Sea Bubble? What if the humiliated and vexatious princes and billionaires he humbled in the Riyadh Ritz Hotel come to take their revenge? What if – dare one speak his name? – a future British prime minister reopened the Special Branch enquiry into the Al-Yamamah arms contract? And, while we’re on the subject, what if someone discovers the routes by which US weapons reached Isis and their chums after 2014?

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/mohammad-bin-salman-uk-visit-saudi-arabia-crown-prince-history-relationships-middle-east-leaders-a8243686.html

Sad News of Jail time for Journalist and singer in Turkey for post a link

murat askoy turk journalist

Sad News of Jail time for Journalist and singer in Turkey for post a link

Journalist Murat Aksoy, singer Atilla Taş get jail terms over FETÖ  -Gulen Movement

Hurriet Daily March 9 – 2018-  Association of North American Ethnic Journalists and writers – ( Canada and USA)

 

atila tashmurat askoy turk journalist

Turkish singer Atilla Taş and journalist Murat Aksoy were jailed once again on March 8 for their suspected links to the Fetullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), according to a judicial source.

Istanbul’s 25th Criminal Court handed a jail term of three years, one month and 15 days to Taş, and two years and one month to Aksoy for “helping the organization knowingly and willingly,” while not being “a part of the hierarchical structure within the organization,” said the source, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media.

The two had been arrested in April last year, while charges against them were dropped in October after they spent over half a year behind bars.

During the same hearing, 23 other suspects were handed jail terms ranging from six years and three months to seven years and six months, as part of a probe into FETÖ’s structure in media.

They are accused of “being a member of a terror group” and of “participating in a coup attempt.”

Gökçe Firat Çulhaoğlu and Hanım Büşra Erdal were also among journalists who received jail terms of six years and three months.

Turkey accuses FETÖ and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gülen of having orchestrated the defeated coup attempt of July 15, 2016, which left 250 people killed and nearly 2,200 injured.

Murat Aksoy is a Turkish journalist. He was one of the prominent columnists who have lost their job because of government’s pressure on media in Turkey

trial of danish millioner who raped and killed Swedish journalist in his submarine to begin

danish- journalist

As Kim Wall’s murder trial begins, friends seeking ‘justice’ hope her legacy empowers women journalists

trial of danish millioner  who raped and killed Swedish journalist in his  submarine to begin

Danish self-taught engineer Peter Madsen, charged with murdering and mutilating Swedish journalist Kim Wall last year aboard his homemade submarine, goes on trial on Thursday in a disturbing case that shocked the Scandinavian country.

Copenhagen City Court is to call 37 witnesses during the 12-day trial which could help clarify seemingly contradictory statements by the 47-year old accused, who has admitted to cutting up Wall’s body but denies murdering her aboard the vessel where she was last seen on August 10th.

Madsen’s lawyer, Betina Hald Engmark, has not revealed what he intends to say at his trial.

According to a charge sheet, Madsen tied the 30-year-old freelance reporter by the head, arms and legs before beating and stabbing her, including 14 stab wounds and holes in her genital area, after she boarded the submarine to interview him.

Prosecutors say he then killed her and dismembered her body, put her torso, head, and legs in separate bags weighed down with metal objects, and dumped them in Køge Bay off Copenhagen.

The 47-year-old has changed his story several times about what happened that night.

He initially said he had dropped Wall off in a Copenhagen harbour, then he said she died in an accident onboard the vessel.

Madsen subsequently said he “buried her at sea”.

But prosecutors believe Madsen planned to murder Wall as he brought a saw, knife, plastic strips, and metal pieces on board, all of which they say were used to torture and dismember her, and dispose of her remains.

“The Danes were like everybody else shocked by the cruelty of this crime,” said Frank Hvilsom, a journalist reporting on the case for Danish newspaper Politiken.

“Many could identify with the victim and feel very sorry for her,” he told AFP.

Family and friends of award-winning Wall, who reported for The New York Times and the Guardian, among others, have set up a memorial in her name to fund women reporters interested in covering “the undercurrents of rebellion”.

Neither the cause of death nor the motive has been established, but investigators believe Madsen either strangled Wall or cut her throat as part of a sadistic sex crime. He has denied any sexual relations with Wall.

Investigators seized in his workshop a hard drive containing fetish films in which women were tortured, decapitated and burned alive, according to the prosecution. Madsen said the drive was not his.

He faces a life sentence, which in Denmark averages 16 to 17 years before parole according to national statistics, though some convicts have been locked up much longer.

A relatively well-known figure in Denmark, he was dubbed “Rocket Madsen” due to his ambitions for amateur space travel and rocket launches.

In 2008, Madsen launched the Nautilus, the largest privately-made submarine, with help from 25 volunteers.

After a conflict, the sub’s board of directors transferred ownership to Madsen, who has been described as having “a hard time getting along with other people” by journalist Thomas Djursing, who wrote a 2014 biography about the suspect.

Wall, whose work had taken her to the earthquake-hit ruins of Haiti and the torture chambers of Idi Amin’s Uganda, was reported missing by her boyfriend after she failed to return home from a trip on the 18-metre UC3 Nautilius submarine.

Investigators believe Madsen deliberately sank the Nautilus shortly before he was rescued at sea on August 11th.

Trial of Danish inventor over murder of journalist to begin

Another Sad day for Journalist. Young journalist killed in Slovakia

slovakian journalist

We at ANAJ ,  condemn murder of young Slovakian Journalist, Jan Kuciak,27, who was covering corruption case and  his fiance Martina Kusnirivoa shot dead.

We call On Slovakian government to arrest the killers and those who order the heinous crime and bring them before court of justice. brave journalists are vital for any democracy or country in oreder to be voice of people for a healthy government and society.

our condolences to family and friends , colleagues and people of Slovakia.

Saeed Soltanpour

Internationale Director

Association of North American ( Canada – USA ) Ethnic Journalists and Writes   www.anaj.org

 

slovakian journalist

 

Slovakia journalist murder: Seven suspects released by police

All of the seven people arrested in connection with the killing of an investigative journalist in Slovakia have been released, police say.

Jan Kuciak, who was writing an article on corruption allegations, and his fiancée Martina Kusnirova were shot dead at their home last Sunday.

The murders shocked the country and led to protest marches in 25 cities.

Kuciak, 27, had been investigating alleged political corruption linked to Italian organised crime in Slovakia.

He was killed before he had finished the article, but it was published posthumous

A police statement said the seven suspects were released because no evidence had emerged during the 48 hours they can be legally detained.  One of the men is an Italian who had done business deals with officials close to Prime Minister Robert Fico.

 

right populist coming back in Italy

silvio-berlusconi

Bunga bunga is back: Berlusconi and the power of populism in Italy’s elections

Italian politician Silvio Berlusconi arrives for the European People’s Party (EPP) Congress on March 30, 2017 in San Giljan, Malta. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Italy goes to the polls on Sunday, bringing to an end a volatile and unpredictable election campaign, in which 30 to 40 percent of voters remain undecided.

Europe’s fourth largest economy is struggling with deficits, a large debt load, high unemployment, a shaky banking industry, as well as social and political unrest.

Berlusconi’s remarkable comeback shows just how difficult it is for a country to rid itself of populists once they have infiltrated the system.– Yascha Mounk, lecturer at Harvard University

Populism is on the rise, on both the left and the right — and what’s more, the nation’s most notorious bad-boy politician is back in action.

Former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has brought together a coalition of right-wing parties, including his own Forza Italia, which is currently several points ahead in polls.

For Yascha Mounk, this state of affairs does not bode well for democracy, in Italy and beyond.

The academic and author of the new book, The People vs. Democracy: Why Our Freedom is in Danger and How to Save It, wrote recently in Slate that, “Berlusconi’s remarkable comeback shows just how difficult it is for a country to rid itself of populists once they have infiltrated the system.”

Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi gestures as he attends a rally outside his house, Palazzo Grazioli, on November 27, 2013 in Rome, Italy. (Giorgio Cosulich/Getty Images)

Back in action

Berlusconi, who served as leader for 17 years, was ousted in 2011 following sexual and financial scandals (he’s banned from seeking public office himself). He left with a dubious political record: a sluggish economy and a compromised judicial system. And yet his popularity endures.

Mounk writes that, “perhaps the most striking thing about Berlusconi’s return is that the rest of the country’s political scene has surpassed him in craziness during the years of his political exile.”

Apparently these kinds of figures can actually perpetuate themselves and even mount stunning comebacks once they’ve been thrown out of politics.– Yascha Mounk

That scene includes the nationalist, anti-immigrant Lega Nord party and the Cinque Stellemovement, an insurgent, anti-establishment party with its support concentrated among young people.

The rise of these populist parties, Mounk explains to Day 6 guest host Rachel Giese, is evidence that “the mode of politics Berlusconi championed really has taken hold all across the political spectrum. And that, too, has me really worried about the long term effect of figures like Berlusconi.”

Yascha Mounk is an author and Harvard University lecturer. (Supplied/Harvard University Press)

Uncertain future

In the case of Italy, the instability created by populist movements has had an impact on social cohesion — Lega Nord is rabidly anti-immigrant — and on the possibility for positive economic reform. Mounk warns that Italy could find itself, like Greece before it, mired in a financial crisis and on the brink of crashing out of the EU.

He also says that Americans should be watching Italy’s fate closely. Like Berlusconi, President Donald Trump is “a billionaire with a knack for shameless self-promotion, [and] a love of surrounding himself with beautiful women.”

Silvio Berlusconi poses with a supporter at the end of a campaign rally in Milan on February 25, 2018, ahead of the Italian general elections of next week. (Piero Cruciatti/AFP/Getty Images)

And the conventional wisdom of pundits and his political opposition is that the antics of figures like Trump, from investigations of possible complicity with Russia to allegations of affairs with (and pay-offs to) porn stars, will eventually lead to their demise.

The return of Berlusconi should warn them otherwise. Mounk says “it’s astounding” that the appeal of populist leaders survives even after they’ve failed and been disgraced.

“This has me quite worried,” he says, “because apparently these kinds of figures can actually perpetuate themselves and even mount stunning comebacks once they’ve been thrown out of politics.”

 

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