Category Archives: Europe/Australia/New Zeland

The Mafia Reporter With a Police Escort (and the 200 Journalists Like Him)

italy journalist

The Mafia Reporter With a Police Escort (and the 200 Journalists Like Him)

By Gaia Pianigiani

May 20, 2018
ROME — For many of his days over the past four years, Paolo Borrometi has lived in isolation, though he is barely ever alone. He has not walked through a park or by the beach in his native Sicily for years. He cannot go to a restaurant freely, or to a concert or the movies. He can’t drive a car alone, go shopping alone, or go out for dinner by himself.

Before heading to work as a reporter covering the mafia, he starts each morning with an espresso, a cigarette — and his police escort.

Angering the mafia as a journalist in Italy makes for a lonely life. And yet Mr. Borrometi, 35, is in good company. Almost 200 reporters in Italy live under police protection, making it unique among industrialized Western countries, advocacy groups say.

“None of us wants to be a hero or a model,” Mr. Borrometi told an assembly of high school students on a recent morning in Rome, where he now lives. “We just want to do our job and our duty, to tell stories.”

Yet murders connected to organized crime are rising in Italy, the authorities say, and international observers consider criminal networks the principal threat to journalists in Europe.

“Don’t stop writing, Paolo,” read an email Mr. Borrometi received two days after he was assaulted in 2014 outside his family’s country home in Sicily by two men wearing balaclavas. “Our countries need free and investigative journalism. You have my respect.”

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The note came from Daphne Caruana Galizia, the Maltese investigative journalist who was herself killed in a car-bomb attack last year, after exposing her island nation’s links to offshore tax havens and reporting on local politicians’ crimes for decades. When she died at 53, she had 47 lawsuits pending against her, including one from the country’s economy minister.

In addition to Ms. Caruana Galizia, who was killed in October, a 27-year-old reporter, Jan Kuciak, was killed along with his fiancée in Slovakia in February. He had also been investigating corruption with suspected ties to Italian mobsters.

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Students at the Terenzio Mamiani High School in Rome listened to a presentation by journalists about the risks of the profession.CreditNadia Shira Cohen for The New York Times
“There have already been two journalists killed by the mafia inside the European Union, both investigating mafia stories and stories that domestic governments were not looking into,” said Pauline Adès-Mével, who is responsible for the European desk at Reporters Without Borders, an advocacy group for press freedom.

“Italy is historically the country that has felt the mafia the most, and has a dozen of journalists under 24-hour police protection,” Ms. Adès-Mével said. “That doesn’t happen in other countries.”

Among those journalists is Lirio Abbate, a mafia expert with the magazine L’Espresso, who has been under protection for 11 years, since the police thwarted a bomb attack in front of his house in Palermo. Federica Angeli, a reporter with La Repubblica, and her family have been under police escort for five years. And Roberto Saviano, the author of “Gomorrah,” a best-selling book, movie and TV series about the Neapolitan crime syndicate, has been under escort since 2006.

For Mr. Borrometi, it took just a year of reporting on the secret businesses and clandestine political ties of the mafia in southeastern Sicily for his independent news website, La Spia (The Spy), before criminals menaced him. In five years, he got hundreds of death threats from local mobsters.

Mr. Borrometi, who trained as a lawyer, started writing for local papers when he was 17, inspired by a Sicilian investigative reporter, Giovanni Spampinato, who was killed by the mafia in the 1970s.

He started his own website five years ago. His first investigation, on mafia infiltrations among top officials in the town of Scicli, contributed to the government’s decision to dissolve city hall.

His articles pull no punches. They detail the connections between political powers and the mob, naming names, and accompanied by photographs. “People need to know who they are when they meet them at the bar,” he said.

At first, his articles prompted vandalism against him and late night phone calls. But things got physical after he began writing a series of stories that showed how Sicily’s largest fruit and vegetable market was controlled by mobsters.

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Malta court rejects bid to stop FBI testimony in journalist murder case

Daphne Caruana Galizia

Malta court rejects bid to stop FBI testimony in journalist murder case

May 21-2018

VALLETTA (Reuters) – A Maltese court on Monday dismissed an attempt by one of the suspects in the murder of investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia to stop an FBI team testifying in pre-trial proceedings.

FILE PHOTO: People hold up pictures of assassinated anti-corruption journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia during a vigil and demonstration marking seven months since her murder in a car bomb, at her makeshift memorial outside the Courts of Justice in Valletta, Malta May 16, 2018. REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi/File Photo
Galizia, an anti-corruption blogger, was killed by a car bomb last October. The bomb is believed to have been triggered by a signal from a mobile phone and the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has been helping Maltese authorities to solve the case.

Three people have been charged with carrying out the murder but police have not identified who ordered it. The three people deny the charges.

One of the three, Alfred Degiorgio, tried to have the FBI barred from giving evidence in the case on the grounds that it has worked with a court-appointed Maltese IT expert, Martin Bajada, who has a historic conviction for theft and fraud.

“Dr Bajada should never have been appointed in the first place and should never have been allowed to work alongside the FBI experts,” a lawyer for Degiorgio said, adding that his client’s rights would be prejudiced if the foreign experts were allowed to testify.

In her ruling, Judge Lorraine Schembri Orland described Degiorgio’s attempt to stop the FBI from giving evidence as “frivolous and vexatious”.

Maurizio Cordina, a lawyer representing Malta’s Attorney General, said the case was “a desperate maneuver by Mr Degiorgio to delay, if not block” the trial, adding that Bajada had simply gathered evidence and had not worked with the FBI.

The case against Degiorgio is built mostly around intercepts of mobile phone data compiled by the FBI and Bajada.

The FBI is due to give evidence in the case on Tuesday.

The Times of Malta reported that Bajada pleaded guilty in 1993 in a London court to charges of theft and fraud and received a two-year suspended sentence.

Investigative journalist shot and injured in Montenegro

montegro

Investigative journalist shot and injured in Montenegro
Olivera Lakić wounded outside her home in the country’s second attack on a journalist in a month

An investigative reporter who covers crime and corruption in Montenegro has been shot and injured in an attack that prompted calls from the European Union and the US to protect journalists in the Balkan country.

Olivera Lakić, a journalist for the Montenegrin newspaper Vijesti, was wounded in the right leg outside her home in the capital, Podgorica. She was taken to a hospital and was reported out of danger.

Police said the attack happened around 9pm. A search for the attackers was underway, including increased controls throughout the city and a review of surveillance cameras in the area, police said.

Vijesti’s chief editor, Mihailo Jovović, said Lakić told him a man approached her and shot her, while two other men ran away.

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She was attacked six years ago after she wrote a series of articles about alleged murky dealings over a tobacco factory. That perpetrator was jailed for several months and Lakić had police protection for a while.

“I am speechless,” Jovović said in comments published on the Vijesti website. “For how much longer will this be happening? A lot of stories she wrote have not been investigated [by the authorities]. For how much longer must we live in fear of such cowards?”

Prime minister Duško Marković condemned the attack and urged a “swift and efficient investigation” to discover the motive as well as who might have ordered it.

The assault, the second against a journalist in a month, prompted international concern. Last month a bomb exploded near the home of a prominent journalist in the northern town of Bijelo Polje.

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Police inspect the scene of the shooting. Photograph: Risto Bozovic/AP
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The US embassy in Podgorica tweeted that it was “following with concern the attack tonight on journalist Olivera Lakić.” It said journalists “are the guardians of democracy and must be protected so they can do their jobs in safety”.

A warning to the corrupt: if you kill a journalist, another will take their place
Laurent Richard
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Aivo Orav, head of the EU delegation in Montenegro, called the attack “very worrying.” In the tweet, Orav said that “journalists must be protected.”

Montenegro is a former Yugoslav republic that joined Nato last year and is now also seeking EU membership. The long-ruling Democratic Party of Socialists has faced accusations of widespread crime and corruption.

The EU, which Montenegro hopes to join by 2025, along with international human rights and media organisations have been insisting that the authorities solve a string of attacks against journalists and media organisations.

Many of the dozen or so assaults in the last 15 years, including the 2004 murder of editor Duško Jovanović, remain unresolved

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.

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

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