Category Archives: Middle East/ME

Pakistan Closes US-Funded Radio Mashaal Office In Islamabad

mashal radio
 .Pakistan Closes US-Funded Radio Mashaal Office In Islamabad
Journalist watchdog CPJ said the office was closed after ISI accused the broadcaster of airing programs “against the interest of Pakistan”.
 
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The Committee to Protect Journalism has condemned Pakistan’s closure of RFE/RL’s Radio Mashaal office in Islamabad, calling it a “direct threat to press freedom” in Pakistan.
 
According to the CPJ, Pakistan’s Interior Ministry ordered the closure on Friday after Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) agency accused the private, US-government-funded broadcaster of airing programs “against the interest of Pakistan” and “in line with [a] hostile intelligence agency’s agenda.”
 
“The order to close Radio Mashaal is a draconian move by Pakistani authorities and a direct threat to press freedom,” said Steven Butler, the Committee to Protect Journalism’s Asia program coordinator.
 
“Radio Mashaal is an important source of information and should be allowed to continue operating without delay,” he said.
 
Butler meanwhile told the Associated Press in an email that the move is part of a pattern of increasing pressure on journalists in Pakistan.
 
“It’s hard to know precisely what prompted the order,” he told AP.
 
“However, it is certainly only the latest move from the military that puts pressure on the media to stay away from sensitive issues, including criticism of the military itself.”
 
Butler told AP that the closure might also be retaliation for US President Donald Trump’s New Year’s Day tweet accusing Pakistan of “lies and deceit.”
 
“It also comes just after the Trump administration cut off military aid to Pakistan and could possibly be a kind of retaliation,” said Butler.
 
“It does not bode well for press freedom inside the country.”
 
On January 1, Trump accused Pakistan of “lies and deceit” and said the US would suspend up to $1.9 billion a year in military aid until Islamabad moves decisively against Afghan Taliban fighters and Haqqani network militants who he said have found safe haven within Pakistan’s borders.
 
CPJ reported that Pakistan’s order against Radio Mashaal accused the news outlet of “portraying Pakistan [as] a hub of terrorism and [a] safe haven for different militant groups.”
 
The order stated that Radio Mashaal programming presented Pakistan as a “failed state in terms of providing security to its people,” in particular minorities and ethnic Pashtuns.
 
It said Radio Mashaal showed ethnic Pashtuns in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, Balochistan Province, and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) along the border with Afghanistan as “disenchanted with the state.”
 
It also accused the broadcaster of “distorting facts [to] incite the target population against the state and its institutions.”
 
 
RFE/RL said Pakistani Interior Ministry officers went to the broadcaster’s Islamabad bureau on Friday and met with the bureau chief and administrator to discuss the closure order.
 
RFE/RL President Thomas Kent said he was “extraordinarily concerned by the closure” and was “urgently seeking more information about the Pakistani authorities’ intentions.”
 
Kent said Radio Mashaal, which broadcasts from Prague and has both radio and digital operations, is a “private news organization supported by the US Congress with no connection to the intelligence agencies of any country.”
 
“Radio Mashaal is an essential source of reliable, balanced information for our Pakistani audience,” Kent said.
 
“We hope this situation will be resolved without delay.”
 
In emphasizing that “Radio Mashaal serves no intelligence agency or government,” Kent said “our reporters are Pakistani citizens who are dedicated to their country and live and raise families in the villages in which they report.”
 
“We demand that their safety be ensured, and that they be permitted to resume their work without fear or delay,” Kent said.
 
 
http://www.tolonews.com/world/pakistan-closes-us-funded-radio-mashaal-office-islamabad
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Was it an Islamic group recruit gone wrong?

Boyle-Coleman Saga

PECULIAR CASE OF THE FIVE YEAR KIDNAP OF A SEVEN MONTHS PREGNANT AMERICAN AND HER CANADIAN HUSBAND IN AFGHANISTAN

By: Winny Moro
Canadian – Sudanese ANAJ Writer

There is a consensus, even at the international level, that Canadians are generally peaceful and easy going people.  However, many of the same people who have heard or read the details of the very troubling, sad story of the events that are repeatedly publicised as the kidnapping of Joshua Boyle and his American wife Caitlan Coleman in Afghanistan, strangely face a dichotomy of not only feeling sympathetic to what happened in a five year period to the family, but at the same time feel a strange sense of anger at these victims for having put themselves and their four children so carelessly and un-necessarily in such a most disastrous predicament.

In the past few weeks, I have heard many versions of what I call the Boyle-Coleman Saga. What they said they had endured is extremely saddening, but at the same time there are so many inconsistencies and controversies in their accounts that leaves no recourse for the reader but to conclude that their narrative simply fails to make any sense and that is not even considering the new legal problems that Boyle is facing which has kept him in prison in Canada, at the point of this writing.

To begin with their story, I cannot get over what the urgency was for their “back packing” trip to Wardak Province, one of the most troubled parts of Afghanistan, that Joshua Boyle felt the need to take his seven months pregnant wife along.

I decided to speak with a Canadian friend who is familiar with the general geography and mentalities of the region.  It happens that he too had an experience of a five year internment in the area but in circumstances which by no means were anything as complicated as Boyle’s, but he still had no idea if it would ever come to an end other than an act of providence.

My associate is a member of Pen Canada and North America Ethnic Journalists and when I called him about this kidnapping account, he said that he had read a good deal about it and like me, he strongly believed that there is more to this story than what Boyle and Coleman are willing to say, the beginning of which he believes to have taken place in Toronto.

He said years ago, he had the occasions of talking with Zaynab Khadr, the sister of infamous Omar Khadr.  My associate cannot imagine how as a Canadian man, Joshua Boyle could get to the point of marrying such a super fundamentalist Muslim, burka wearing lady.  In other words, Joshua must have had a super fundamentalist Muslim beliefs himself to be attracted to and to attract Zaynab, to the point of becoming the spokesperson for the Islamic extremist family.  We believe that this is probably the crux and reason for attraction of the back packing trip to Afghanistan.

As an explanation for what they had gone to do on their trip, Boyle said that they had been in Afghanistan “helping the most neglected minority group in the world, those ordinary villagers that live deep inside Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, where no NGO, no aid worker and no government has ever successfully been able to bring the necessary help.”  So the question arrises, what type of aid did he and his pregnant wife have in mind to provide, making them more successful than even governments?

In a letter to CTV Ottawa, Boyle writes, “To those who strive to devote their life to acting as a servant of God, no explanation is necessary.  To those who don’t strive to devote their life to acting as a servant of God, no explanation is possible. Unfortunately, it’s really that simple.”

What is the meaning of that?  Well, the Canadian describes their expedition as a “pilgrim“ journey, which means the travel from afar to a holy place.

I suggest that Islam is what attracted the couple to the region in the first place and despite knowing that the area was a Taliban zone, the husband and wife duo regarded themselves as having the honour of potentially being martyr and sacrifices at the Alter of Islam.

Boyle and his wife have both said that the captors asked and wanted them “to do” something and when Boyle refused, they killed their first child who they named “Martyr”, which is mainly someone who has given life for a religious cause.  What was this work or mission which they denied and resulted in the child being murdered and the mother raped, yet when he was talking about these heinous crimes, Boyle found it necessary to defend Muslims by saying that the captors were not Muslims but rather pagans!

While the rest of the world believes that the Taliban and Haqqani are Muslims, Boyle’s idea of Islam is so good that he says he is a Muslim and the Haqqani are“pagans” because Muslims do not carry out acts like those they were subject to.

We also note that regardless of the extreme cruelties, Caitlan Coleman wears a full Islamic Hijab, which suggests that she, along with her husband had converted to Islam before their trip.  I say this because it is quite unlikely that someone would be kidnapped and tortured, and during captivity, take on the religion of their captures and even after release dresses like them.

In his pre-Afghanistan photos, we see Boyle with a very thick beard that usually is considered an Islamic signature in that area and his Canadian co-workers have said that he was taking time for Islamic prayer prior to the trip.  This shows that religion has been the center for the entire ordeal.

I believe that there had been a notion of what the Haqqani would require of the couple before they set out on their back packing trip to the mountainous region, but somewhere along the line, they encountered a glitch in their plan.  It was something the couple did not expect and denied, which resulted in the entire disaster.  Boyle and Coleman had nothing worthwhile to offer the Taliban or Haqqani except if they could use their citizenships and passports as North Americans to accomplish a serious blow on something or somewhere that was important for the USA or Canada.

After all, the pregnant American woman was the greatest cover up for a mission.

Many readers are astonished at the lack of challenge directed towards the couple and I am certainly not here to bash them, but this is such national news and I believe that there are countless unanswered questions which has left many of us scratching our heads during the past three months.

My associate, who is quite familiar with Islam, believes that a large number of people including the members of the media in North America are not willing to talk about that very strong “magnet of Islam” and particularly its power over its new converts.  He says, it makes no sense to him that someone hears some basics about Islam, he or she becomes a Muslim and in many cases all of a sudden the new faith becomes the presiding factor over not only their life, but also lives of loved ones.  He believes that is what happened to the Boyle family.

One of the most unsettling constituents of this story is Coleman giving birth to three children while in captivity.  Her first child was killed, she then had been raped, she had been subject of beatings, had been kept underground and we hear they had a place as big as a bath tub, yet she got pregnant not once but three times?  Are those conditions to bring up Canadian-American children or did the couple only consider themselves westerners when they got in trouble and needed to be rescued?

They say that they had no sun so they would give their child to one of the captors to take him out for some sunlight.  These people out of fear, allegedly had to hide Coleman’s pregnancy and even the birth, which means they were worried that their child would be martyred again, but yet they give that child to the same murderers to take out for getting sun light?

Even in our own safe country, we do not give our children to a stranger for a couple of hours and even in most favorable conditions, not many people give birth to three children in a four year period.  If this kidnapping had taken another five years, how many more children would Caitlan give birth to?

Their reasoning for having children in captivity is nearly childish, given their circumstances.  It is hard to believe that a mother who had become attached to a fetus growing and kicking inside of her for seven months, who then experiences the killing of that child, a couple months later would say because they have always wanted to have a big family, why not get pregnant again.

“We’re sitting as hostages with a lot of time on our hands,” Boyle told The Associated Press in an email. “We always wanted as many as possible, and we didn’t want to waste time.  Cait’s in her 30s, the clock is ticking.”

“Honestly we’ve always planned to have a family of 5, 10, 12 children … We’re Irish, haha,” he wrote, as if it was the appropriate time and place for them to live out their fantasies.

Their dream vacation experienced a fatal detour, but the two converts found the courage to make the best out of it by accomplishing and fulfilling their desire to have children before Caitlan’s biological clock ran out.

Joshua’s faith was more important than his family because, if it was the other way around, he would have been worried that he may get killed and then have a wife and three children in the middle of one of the most hostile societies, thus eliminating the thought of having children in the first place and more importantly, their entire trip!  Is it because “Multiply” is a concept in The Quran?

I find it quite odd that Boyle repeatedly uses the word “stupid” when referring to the Haqqani.  They have killed your child, raped your wife, beaten you, and all they are is stupid?  Stupid is certainly not a word someone who has gone through such tribulations would use to describe those responsible.

The couple had and still have great confidence in their “bravery” for taking such an unthinkable risk and they exhibit no signs of remorse for what they have done to their children, perhaps because they see nothing wrong with their contribution in creating such a tragedy.  It’s as if they would, with no hesitation repeat their actions over and over again if given the same opportunity.

After all, if you look at it as Boyle does, everything is very simple.  He was a servant of Allah.

The saga surely has not ended, as many people suggest that the recent charges against Joshua Boyle are merely a tool in having access to him and being able to put him to question about the events of the five year kidnapping.  The truth and findings might be of a much greater value for the authorities, particularly, what the kidnappers expected the husband and wife do for them in North America.

 

UK protesters mark 100 years since Balfour Declaration

balford100

UK protesters mark 100 years since Balfour Declaration

Palestinian activists in London took to the streets on the centenary of the divisive Balfour Declaration.

 |  | PalestineIsraelMiddle EastUnited Kingdom

Prominent Palestinian activist and politician Mustafa Barghouti was among several thousand people who joined a protest on the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration in central London last week.

“It’s important for me to be here today and for Palestinians to feel the solidarity of the British people. It’s important to see how the British people are against the position of the British government,” Barghouti said.

“The Balfour Declaration is not over. It is being implemented today across Palestine. It led to the ethnic cleansing during the Nakba, but it is not finished. It led to Israel’s apartheid regime, which is worse than the apartheid regime that existed in South Africa.”

The 1917 declaration realised the Zionist aim of creating a Jewish state in Palestine after Britain pledged to establish “a national home for the Jewish people” there.

The only democracy in the Middle East? Not without free speech, Israel is not

david sheen
Israel promotes itself as the only democracy in the Middle East.
Former prime minister Ehud Barak once described his nation as a “villa in the jungle“. But recent years have seen a major erosion of press freedoms in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, and an Israeli Jewish public that wholeheartedly supports the suppression of independent media.

Palestinian journalists are routinely harassed and arrested. Palestinians are increasingly targeted on social media after Israel accuses them of incitementAl Jazeera is now being threatened with closure. Israel’s communication minister Ayoub Kara claimed that Arab states such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain were his inspiration for trying to shut the Qatari news channel.

Israeli journalists aren’t immune. Being opposed to the decades-long occupation automatically makes you a target. Israel cannot maintain its control over millions of Palestinians without instituting a regime of control, intimidation, imprisonment and death. Occupation is

, imprisonment and death. Occupation is brutal, unforgivingand now permanent.

Israeli-Canadian journalist David Sheen is the latest reporter to fall foul of Israel’s draconian political environment – and his case should be a wake-up call to a global community that still clings to the belief that Israel is a thriving democracy.

Sheen has contributed to The New Arab, Haaretz, Al Jazeera and others, and is one of Israel’s finest chroniclersof the state’s mistreatment of its Africans, and a consistent advocate of humanitarian principles.

He is being sued by an Israeli general, Israel Ziv, for writing about Ziv’s connections to the South Sudanese government led by President Salva Kiir.

Late last year, Israel’s Channel 2 discovered that Ziv’s company, Global CST, in addition to assisting and trainingsecurity forces in South America, Eurasia and Africa, was advising Kiir to defend his beleaguered South Sudanese regime.

40 journalists in Iran lost jobs

ANA news

PRESS Release

July 19 -2

017 The Association of North American Ethnic Journalists and Writers is greatly disappointed by the news that forty journalists from three news outlets have been laid off  in Iran , this Week.

According to one  the journalists the layoffs are resulted from the fact that their reports were in line and accordance of the Policies   of News agencies . the fired journalists are from “ANA- Azad university News Agency  –  “Iska News” and “FarRarhikhtegan News paper /online

 

ISka News

ISka News

Frhightagan

Frhightagan

ANA news

ANA news

–  “Iska News” and “FarRarhikhtegan”

Hamas cracks down on Gaza journalists

palestine

Hamas cracks down on Gaza journalists

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — On April 26, the Ministry of Interior in Gaza launched a crackdown against what it described as “propagandists.” During this unprecedented move, 17 Palestinian journalists and activists were arrested for several hours before being released after pledging not to publish news about internal Palestinian affairs before verifying it with official sources.

The crackdown came in the wake of escalating disputes between President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas, and only a day after the Gaza Interior Ministry threatened to take decisive action against social media propagandists, saying, “Some activists deliberately spread rumors on social media in order to stir up confusion among Palestinian citizens.”

On April 25, Hamas-affiliated al-Majd website, which mainly focuses on security issues, reported that the Hamas security services unveiled a dangerous plan thought up by security and intelligence agencies — without specifying which — to flood Gaza with rumors in order to create a state of confusion and chaos and disturb security in the Strip.

In the days leading up to the crackdown, rumors had been spreading in Gaza, mainly about murders and thefts spread by fake accounts, which proved to be invalid hours after they were published.

Spokesman for the Interior Ministry in Gaza Eyad al-Bozom told Al-Monitor that the crackdown came in light of the events that took place in Gaza following the assassination of Hamas leader Mazen Faqha on March 24, such as the arrest of dozens of individuals accused of feeding Israeli security intelligence. Meanwhile, pressure is increasing in Gaza and the siege is being tightened, while Palestinian parties are attempting to exploit the harsh living conditions in Gaza with the purpose of affecting the citizens’ psyche by spreading rumors and false news, Bozom added.

He said, “We have done our duty and we have taken legal action against some propagandists, especially those spreading rumors on social media. In return, we have introduced a set of guidelines for citizens, warning them about such rumors.”

The guidelines mainly instructed citizens to rely on official sources to extract information on public affairs, not to share information from anonymous sources on their private accounts.

Read more: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2017/05/gaza-hamas-crackdown-propagandists-rumors.html#ixzz4h0FgPS81

 

66-year-old journalist says denied access to books in prison

turkey journalist

66-year-old journalist says denied access to books in prison

Under arrest since July 31, 2016, veteran columnist and writer Ali Bulaç has said he is being denied access to books in prison.

A main opposition Republican Peoples’ Party (CHP) delegation has recently paid a visit to some of the arrested journalists in Silivri prison.

According to a report CHP group prepared on its visits, Ali Bulaç is not able to access to writing materials as well as books.

“Let them give me meal only once a day. It doesn’t matter of they leave me to starve but they shall not keep me without books. I am 66 years old. I want to write a new book but I can’t. This affects me more than hunger,” Bulaç said.

“I have health problems. I have diabetes. [But] They give me only generic pills not the original ones,” he added.

A columnist and an op-ed contributor for the now-closed Zaman newspaper, Bulac was detained on July 27, 2016 over his ties to the Gulen movement, which the government accuses of masterminding a coup attempt the same month. He was arrested only three days after on accusation of spreading propaganda on behalf of the movement.

ISRAEL DENIES WORK VISA EXTENSION TO DUTCH JOURNALIST

Derk-Walters

ISRAEL DENIES WORK VISA EXTENSION TO DUTCH JOURNALIST

BY
MAY 4, 2017

Walters has been forceful in his criticism of Israeli policy vis-à-vis the Palestinians, and it is widely suspected that this is the reason he is being denied the extension.

Less than a week before the opening of the Jerusalem Press Club’s conference on Freedom of the Press in the Digital Era, the international and local media are abuzz with the story of Derk Walters, a Jerusalem-based Dutch journalist, who has been denied an extension of his work visa.

Walters has been reporting for the daily NRC Handelsblad since 2014, covering both Israel and the Palestinian Authority, and was recently informed that he must leave the country in July.

Association of North American Ethnic Journalists and writers-  ANAJ -CANADA

Kurdish journalist killed in Mosul by roadside bomb

ShifaGardi

Association of North American ethnic journalists -Canada, condolences for the lost of Shifa Ghardri who was killed while  covering Free Mosul operation on Sat Feb 26 -2017

brave journalists who put their lives in danger to cover the front line of to give the information to people are honoring the Medai outlets any time and nay where in the world.

Born Shifa Zikri Ibrahim, 30-year-old Gardi was a journalist for a decade and anchored studio segments. She was also a prominent war reporter. Rudaw said that her last on-air appearance took place less than an hour before her death.

پەیامنێرێکی کەنالی رووداو لە موسڵ کوژرا

Female TV reporter’s final broadcast one hour before she was killed in Mosul as Iraqi forces push into West of the city despite resistance from ISIS snipers, bombs and armed DRONES

 

ShifaGardi2

Khaled khatib barred from U.S. ahead of Oscars; stars gather at unity rally

khaled khatib

Syrian cinematographer Khaled khatib barred from U.S. ahead of Oscars; stars gather at unity rally

‘It’s a singular time in history. It’s time to engage,’ Jodie Foster declares at rally

By Bradley Klapper, Lindsey Bahr, The Associated Press

.S. immigration authorities are barring entry to a 21-year-old Syrian cinematographer who worked on a harrowing film about his nation’s civil war, The White Helmets, that has been nominated for an Academy Award.

According to internal Trump administration correspondence seen by The Associated Press, the Department of Homeland Security has decided at the last minute to block Khaled Khatib from travelling to Los Angeles for the Oscars.

After 3days at airport, not allowed to travel to – had US visa – but passport not accepted. Sad, but important work to do here.

Khatib was scheduled to arrive Saturday in Los Angeles on a Turkish Airlines flight departing from Istanbul. But his plans have been upended after U.S. officials reported finding “derogatory information” regarding Khatib.

Derogatory information is a broad category that can include anything from terror connections to passport irregularities. Asked for comment, a spokeswoman for the Department of Homeland Security, Gillian Christensen, said, “A valid travel document is required for travel to the United States.”

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