Turkey: Silent Treatment of Hunger Strike met with Anger by Kurds

by Ruwayda Mustafah Rabar, Global Voices Online

On 21 October 2012

Hundreds of Kurdish political prisoners in Turkey have entered an indefinite hunger strike [1]. The non-violent protest has gone unnoticed by international media agencies and human rights organisations. One activist, who has been vocal about this protest, says the hunger strike demands the following:

@hevallo: [2] Releasing Kurdish leader of Kurdish Worker’s Party (PKK) rebels to negotiate a peace settlement

@hevallo [3]: Freedom to use Kurdish language in public sphere

@hevallo: [4] Political settlement for the Kurdish question in Turkey

Today marks the 40th day of their hunger strike, and since their start there has been very little information about the prisoners on hunger strike, and their demands in media outlets. Al Jazeera’s The Stream [5] has showed some interest to highlight the hunger strike, while other media agencies that respond to social networking demands have remained silent. Continue reading

New York Police stalking, harassing, and snooping on activists in Louisiana

[Under the umbrella of “Homeland Security”, over the last decade layer upon layer of repressive measures, technologies, and “inter-agency” coordinations have constructed an ever-present police state.  Repressing dissent, actively suppressing and jailing activist protests, intensifying racial profiling, and infiltrating traditional liberal groups before they take to the streets in response to the economic crisis–these have become the marching orders, organized in many ways.  Extraordinary nationwide police spying is often assigned to local agencies, who operate as organs of the FBI and DHS.  Such arrangements seem to underlie NYPD operations in New Orleans. — Frontlines ed.]

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NYPD surveillance: ‘It’s ridiculous that they would come down to New Orleans’

As documents reveal the NYPD spied on liberal political groups, Jordan Flaherty tells how he was monitored in Louisiana

guardian.co.uk, Friday 23 March 2012 16.13 EDT

NYPD Brooklyn New York

[NYPD monitoring of liberal groups was revealed in documents obtained by the Associated Press. Photograph: Dima Gavrysh/AP]

Jordan Flaherty wasn’t exactly shocked to hear the NYPD had monitored a gathering of political groups in 2008. He was a little surprised, however, to learn of the significance the department ascribed to his role at the event.

A police report composed by an undercover officer at the time described Flaherty as “a main organizer” of the People’s Summit, a gathering of liberal groups opposed to US economic policies. The summit was held in New Orleans over the course of two days in April, 2008. According to the NYPD, Flaherty “held a discussion calling for the increase of the divestment campaign of Israel and mentioned two events related to Palestine.”

Flaherty – now a journalist with al-Jazeera – contests the NYPD’s “main organizer” claim. Upon learning his name was listed in a secret NYPD file, he says he went through his own records.

“I knew I wasn’t one of the main organizers,” Flaherty told the Guardian. “I had to go back and look at the record – then I find out there was a film festival at the same time as the conference.”

Flaherty says he introduced a film at the festival. He noted that protests related to the Louisiana gathering did not involve arrests, indicating they were little threat to national or New York security. Continue reading

Unyielding young Egyptian protesters refuse to succumb to military brutality

Citizen Action Monitor, December 17, 2011

“At least nine people have been killed in Egypt and more than 350 injured in the past two days of clashes between protesters and security forces in Cairo. Soldiers have cleared Tahrir Square of protesters. And footage showed troops beating demonstrators and burning their tents. Protesters are calling for the country’s military rulers to step down. But the military blamed the protesters for the violence, and the country’s prime minister denied that excessive force was used.”Al Jazeera

Here is an Al Jazeera video clip that captures the ferocity of military brutality against courageous young protesters. Also featured is Egyptian Prime Minister Kamal El Ganzouri’s bald-faced lies that the protests are “an attack against the revolution” and that military action is designed to “rescue the revolution.”

Egypt clashes continue for second day, Al Jazeera’s Rawya Rageh reports from Cairo December 17, 2011

Force and fire. That’s how security forces responded minutes after the Egyptian prime minister promised no violence will be used. Protesters didn’t expect much from the man whose very choice of head of cabinet was the main reason behind their sit-in. Still what he had to say disappointed many.

Kamal El Ganzouri, Egyptian Prime Minister – “What we’re having today is not a revolution. It’s an attack against the revolution. I told the youths that I have met, more than 350 of you on 11 days. They are youth from this country. I’ve met them and I told them – This is a government to rescue the revolution of the 25 of January.

But there was no rescue for these protesters who continued battling the military for the second day in a row. The violence spread from the cabinet and parliament buildings into Tahrir Square where the revolution began. Security forces stepped up their campaign after a government building, including a historic research centre, was set on fire in the melee.

They [state television] televised live footage of the violence. It gave the same line as military officials – that the protesters were simply carrying out acts of vandalism. No reference was made to security forces attacking other media. But whatever Egyptians were being told on state television, those on the ground, the ugliness they’ve witnessed first-hand is indisputable.

Indisputable, too, is the fact that the military council is gradually losing political ground. Already a new civilian advisory council that it had appointed, the new relations between the army and the protesters has suspended its work. The question now is whether the men in uniform will change their ways and if there’s even the will to do so.

“Anti-Defamation League” seems desperate to silence pro-Palestinian voices on US campuses

The ADL has attempted to silence all critics of Israel and all supporters of Palestinian rights, by claiming that opponents of Palestinian displacement are "anti-Semitic"

posted by Citizen Action Monitor, October 17, 2011

“The Anti-Defamation League is at it again. On Wednesday, October 13, the ADL issued its latest report on student activism, trying this time to reframe all work in support of Palestinian human rights as being “anti-Israel”. The ADL report targets pro-Palestinian student groups and warns college presidents they could lose funding for protests.” Kristen Szremski

The above passage is Szremski’s opening to her article, Israel lobby empowers Palestinian solidarity, published by Al Jazeera, October 15, 2011. A slightly edited version of the piece follows with added sub-headings. (To read the full, original report, click on the linked title).

Israel lobby empowers Palestinian solidarity by Kristen Szremski, October 15, 2011

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) is at it again.

On Wednesday, October 13, the ADL issued its latest report on student activism, trying this time to reframe all work in support of Palestinian human rights as being “anti-Israel”.

The ADL report targets pro-Palestinian student groups and warns college presidents they could lose funding for protests.

The report, Emerging Anti-Israel Trends and Tactics on Campus, targets Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and the American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), a national, grassroots nonprofit based near Chicago. Released a few days before the first national SJP conference at Columbia University in New York was set to take place, it accuses SJP chapters of fomenting “anti-Israel” programming on their respective campuses, while charging AMP facilitates the growth and deve­­­­lopment of these students’ groups. All of this combines to create an atmosphere in which Jewish students feel “insecure and unsafe”, the ADL claims. Continue reading

AlJazeera: What’s behind the shifting politics of this “independent” news channel?

Behind the News / Columbia Journalism Review — September 28, 2011

What Wadah Khanfar Did For Al Jazeera…

And what the sudden departure of the network’s managing director might mean for its future

By William Stebbins

From the very first moment I joined Al Jazeera in 2005 to lead the launch of the English channel’s Washington broadcast center, there was talk of the imminent demise of Wadah Khanfar, the managing director of Al Jazeera Arabic. But until last week, when Khanfar abruptly announced his resignation, it seemed that the stronger the rumors were, the higher he climbed.

Many believe that Wikileaks provided the silver bullet that finally brought him down. Leaked diplomatic cables document a series of meetings between Khanfar and US embassy officials in Qatar, raising questions about the extent of US influence on both him and the channel. One especially damning cable from 2005, which has received extensive play in the Arab press, alleges that Khanfar agreed to a US request to remove certain pictures from the Al Jazeera website. Al Jazeera has claimed Khanfar’s resignation was in the works before the cables’ release; he has said he stepped down as the specific mission he agreed upon with the Qatari owners—“to transform Al Jazerra into an international news network,” as he put it in an exit interview—had been accomplished. Whatever the reasons, Al Jazeera has much to thank Khanfar for. He had built it into a global network, and led it to its greatest triumph.

Khanfar was at graduate school in Johannesburg when the original Arabic channel launched in 1996, and first appeared on air as an analyst on African affairs. This evolved into a job as a correspondent based in South Africa. In 2001 he began his ascent, and his career as a problem solver, when he was brought in to replace the Kabul bureau chief, Tayseer Allouni, and repair the damage caused by his perceived proximity to the Taliban. Then, at the height of the 2003 invasion Khanfar moved on to oversee Al Jazeera’s Baghdad operation during one of its most challenging periods.

In 2003, following a scandal not unlike the one that many believe to be the cause of Khanfar’s sudden resignation, Mohammed Jassem al-Ali, the original Qatari managing director of the channel, was forced to step down. The Sunday Times published documents discovered in post-war Iraq that alleged ties between al-Ali and Saddam Hussein’s security services. Continue reading

US State Dept’s fidgety, persistent efforts to control Al Jazeera

Saturday, October 1, 2011

QATAR TRIBUNE: THE ‘Open Doors’ (Abwab Maftuha)
campaign launched by the US Embassy in Qatar last year
has paid off in a big way to cater to the personal needs of the
Qataris and in enhancing ties between the US and Qatar,
according to the outgoing US Ambassador to Qatar,
Joseph Evan LeBaron. One motivation:  Qatar sponsors Al Jazeera.

US State Department’s fidgety, persistent need to control Al Jazeera

By ©Brenda Norrell, Censored News
The US State Department’s obsession with Al Jazeera, as exposed by Wikileaks in the US diplomatic cables, is a good read for most anyone, especially journalists. Al Jazeera’s top director has already resigned. Still, four years of cables, 2005-2009, reveal how the United States demanded that Al Jazeera pander to US officials and the US perspective.

Besides Al Jazeera, the diplomatic cables reveal US Embassies obsessed with news reports around the world, from a Vanity Fair article that created US backlash in Germany, to media reports in Bolivia, of Evo Morales’ statements of CIA involvement in a planned assassination of Morales.

But no where is the US more upset about the news than when it comes to Al Jazeera, with a stream of US reports analyzing its coverage and repeated meetings with Al Jazeera’s top newsmakers and board members. The US cables expose the US Ambassadors and US State Department’s persistent, uncontrollable need to control the media. Continue reading