Serena Shim, 1984-2014 The Death of a Reporter

serena-shim

Serena Shim, 1984-2014

“On Friday, October 17, Serena went on air for Press TV. She was rattled in the broadcast. Serena said that Turkish intelligence officials had accused her of spying. She had reported that Islamic State fighters had been smuggled over the border in trucks with logos from the World Food Programme. No one had seen this before or made such allegations.”

 

My twitter feed has become a memorial for the death of journalists from Iraq to Turkey. The latest tragedy was the death of Serena Shim, a US citizen who is of Lebanese origin and worked for Press TV. Last year I had met Serena in Beirut. It is commonplace for journalists to meet each other, to learn where one has been and whether there are stories out there that help give wider context and confirmation for stories that one follows. It was in that context that I met Serena, who had been covering the conflict in Ukraine, Iraq and of course Lebanon. She was a warm person, very smart and very well informed. Her bravery impressed me. Others of her ilk and of her age bracket include the fabulous Radwan Mortada (al-Akhbar) and Jenan Moussa (al-Ain). These are reporters who go into dangerous situations with no “security advisors” – I worry for them daily.

Ten days ago, Serena’s employer Press TV sent her to Turkey to cover the story of the Kobane conflict and to look into the allegations of Turkish help to the Islamic State. This is a story that takes one to Urfa, a city that is linked to Syria through the border crossing at Akçakale. At Urfa’s Balıklıgöl State Hospital, evidence for the treatment of Islamic State fighters is not camouflaged – it is there in plain sight. The Islamic State wounded from the battle of Kobane cross over for treatment here. Any journalist who covered this aspect of the war knows that Turkish intelligence (Milli İstihbarat Teşkilatı) has been mighty skittish about the story. They are quick to show up, and quick to make gestures of ill will.

On Friday, October 17, Serena went on air for Press TV. She was rattled in the broadcast. Serena said that Turkish intelligence officials had accused her of spying. She had reported that Islamic State fighters had been smuggled over the border in trucks with logos from the World Food Organization. No one had seen this before or made such allegations. It came to the heart of the suspicion of various forms of assistance being provided to the Islamic State through Turkey. Barzan Iso, a Syrian Kurdish journalist, had already reported that Qatari charities have been using the Jarabulus crossing to get aid to the Islamic State. I had also reported on this but did not have any evidence that trucks with logos from international organizations were being used for this purpose.

From the Turkish towns of Mardin, Kilis and Urfa, the foreign jihadis made an easy transit into Syria. Until recently, Turkish authorities did not try to hide this “rat line.” Oğuzeli Airport in Gaziantep (Turkey) had come to resemble the old airport in Peshawar (Pakistan), as the bearded wonders disembarked with a glint in their eyes to join what they saw as a holy war. Pakistani intelligence had the same steel in their walk as Turkish intelligence – the parallels seemed to me more and more appropriate when a Kurdish commander told me that the Islamic State is to Turkey as the Taliban is to Pakistan.

In her last broadcast via Skype, Serena told Press TV that she had footage of the IS militants making across the border in broad daylight. The pressure from Turkish intelligence worried her. Reporters Without Borders had called Turkey the “largest prison for journalists.” Because of that she said, “I’m a little bit frightened.” She felt that the pressure had come for her forthright reports from Turkey about the war in Syria.

Two days later, on Sunday, Serena was traveling in a rental car from the border to the town of Suruç, when her car collided with a “heavy vehicle,” likely a cement mixer. The driver and truck vanished. Serena was killed. Her cameraman was injured and is now at Suruç State Hospital.

Turkish authorities say that the driver of the cement mixer has been arrested. An investigation is ongoing.

Serena’s name joins a long list of journalists killed in the war in Iraq-Syria – the Islamic State murdered Mohanad al-Akidi and Raad Mohamed al-Azzawi this month. This was in Iraq.

The Kobane fight has raised tensions in Turkey. It has threatened the “Imrali Process,” a peace negotiation between the Turkish government and the Kurdish Worker’s Party (PKK). Protests inside Turkey for action to defend Kobane resulted in the death of at least thirty people. Pressure has also come on the pro-Kurdish media. On October 2, demonstrators in the town of Diyarbakir attacked four reporters for the pro-Kurdish press – Bisar Durgut and Nihat Kutlu of the daily Azadiya Welat and Beritan Canözer and Sarya Gözüglu of JINHA. Bisar Durgut had eight stab wounds. On 14 October, in Turkey’s Adana, Kadri Bagdu was shot dead by two men on a motorcycle as he distributed the Kurdish daily papers Azadiya Welat and Ozgur Gundem.

Serena Shim, who leaves behind a family that includes her two young children, found herself chasing the truth in a highly charged situation. Evidence that Turkey is assisting the Islamic State is awkward for Ankara. It is as awkward as the evidence of collusion between al-Qaeda and the Pakistani Navy uncovered by my friend and Asia Times colleague Saleem Shahzad (1970-2011). He was killed for his fearless journalism. It is my feeling that Serena met Saleem’s fate.

Brzezinski: Saudi Arabia, Qatar, their western allies orchestrated Syria crisis

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PressTV

The former US national security adviser says the ongoing crisis in Syria has been orchestrated by Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and their western allies.

“In late 2011 there are outbreaks in Syria produced by a drought and abetted by two well-known autocracies in the Middle East: Qatar and Saudi Arabia,” Zbigniew Brzezinski said in an interview with The National Interest on June 24.

He added that US President Barack Obama also supported the unrest in Syria and suddenly announced that President Bashar al-Assad “has to go — without, apparently, any real preparation for making that happen.”

“Then in the spring of 2012, the election year here, the CIA under General Petraeus, according to The New York Times of March 24th of this year, a very revealing article, mounts a large-scale effort to assist the Qataris and the Saudis and link them somehow with the Turks in that effort,” said Brzezinski, who was former White House national security adviser under Jimmy Carter and now a counselor and trustee at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and a senior research professor at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University.

Criticizing the Obama administration’s policies regarding Syria, he questioned, “Was this a strategic position? Why did we all of a sudden decide that Syria had to be destabilized and its government overthrown? Had it ever been explained to the American people? Then in the latter part of 2012, especially after the elections, the tide of conflict turns somewhat against the rebels. And it becomes clear that not all of those rebels are all that ‘democratic.’ And so the whole policy begins to be reconsidered.”

“I think these things need to be clarified so that one can have a more insightful understanding of what exactly US policy was aiming at,” Brzezinski added.

He also called on US officials to push much more urgently to draw in China, Russia and other regional powers to reach some kind of peaceful end to the Syrian crisis.

“I think if we tackle the issue alone with the Russians, which I think has to be done because they’re involved partially, and if we do it relying primarily on the former colonial powers in the region-France and Great Britain, who are really hated in the region-the chances of success are not as high as if we do engage in it, somehow, with China, India and Japan, which have a stake in a more stable Middle East,” Brzezinski said.

Brzezinski also warned again any US-led military intervention in Syria or arming the militants fighting government forces there.

“I’m afraid that we’re headed toward an ineffective American intervention, which is even worse. There are circumstances in which intervention is not the best but also not the worst of all outcomes. But what you are talking about means increasing our aid to the least effective of the forces opposing Assad. So at best, it’s simply damaging to our credibility. At worst, it hastens the victory of groups that are much more hostile to us than Assad ever was. I still do not understand why — and that refers to my first answer — why we concluded somewhere back in 2011 or 2012 — an election year, incidentally that Assad should go.”

Foreign-sponsored militancy in Syria, which erupted in March 2011, has claimed the lives of many people, including large numbers of Syrian soldiers and security personnel.

the New York Times said in a recent report the CIA was cooperating with Turkey and a number of other regional governments to supply arms to militants fighting the government in Syria.

The report comes as the US has repeatedly voiced concern over weapons falling into the hands of al-Qaeda-linked terrorist groups.

Al-Nusra Front was named a terrorist organization by Washington last December, even though it has been fighting with the US-backed so-called Free Syrian Army in its battle against Damascus.

DB / HN

Turkey Will Be Called Upon To Attack Syria – Sheikh Imran Hosein

Syria Puts Us Into An Historic Moment In History
Syria Playing Role Of Sarajevo A Hundreds Years Ago (Beginning of World War)
Syria Will Not Be Lost Without A No Fly Zone
The Jihadists have aligned themselves with a Jewish Christian Zionist Alliance
Russia and China Standing Firm On Supporting Syria
Zionists generally use a false flag to instigate aggression
Most Americans know it was the Mossad and CIA who planned and carried out the 911 attacks
Israel will hope that NATO and Russia/China will war
Opposing the Zionist attack on Syria does not make a person a supporter of Assad.
No Islamic government is doing as much as Hugo Chavez did, they are all comfortable with the IMF.

Interview by Morris

Assad: Erdogan Hasn’t Said Single Word of Truth Since Crisis Beginning

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad slammed Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, stating that he was not honest regarding the stance from the ongoing crisis.

“Erdogan hasn’t said any single word of truth since the beginning of the crisis,” President Assad said in remarks to Turkish Ulusal TV station And Aydinlik Newspaper.

The Syrian leader also praised the martyr scholar, Sheikh Mohamad Said Ramadan al-Bouti, saying he “was an essential figure in thwarting the plot aiming to inflict a sectarian strife in Syria.”

“For that they assassinated Dr. Bouti, and two days ago they assassinated another cleric in Aleppo, and they assassinated a number of scholars before,” President Assad told the Turkish television and daily, in an interview that will be published on Friday. Continue reading

L’Iran met en garde contre le déploiement des “Patriot”, en Turquie

Le chef du quartier général des forces armées de l’Iran a jugé menaçant le déploiement du système balistique “Patriot”, sur le sol turc.

«Les sages et les élites de l’Europe, des Etats-Unis et de la Turquie doivent agir et faire éloigner le système de la région, avant qu’il ne soit trop tard», a dit le général de division Seyyed Hassan Firouzabadi, dimanche, devant des commandants de haut rang de l’armée, à Téhéran. Mettant en garde la Turquie contre le déploiement des systèmes balistiques de l’OTAN, sur son territoire, le général de division a averti qu’une telle mesure renforcerait le danger d’un conflit militaire entre la Turquie et la Syrie.
«Nous sommes l’ami de la Turquie et souhaitons la sécurité pour elle. Nous estimons, pourtant, que le déploiement du système “Patriot”, en Turquie, vise, tout d’abord, à assurer la sécurité du régime sioniste, même s’il traduit l’inquiétude, quant à la présence russe, pour défendre la Syrie, dans la région.
«Chacun de ces systèmes est installé, sur un point noir, sur l’atlas mondial. Malheureusement, il ne passe pas un jour, sans qu’un des pays occidentaux ne décide d’envoyer un autre “Patriot”, sur les frontières turco-syriennes. Ils ont tous un projet en commun : une guerre, sans merci, qui est dangereuse, pour l’avenir de l’Europe, aussi bien que pour celui de l’Humanité tout entière», a-t-il renchéri.

Source: IRIB