The State of Democracy In Turkey–Mass Trial of 44 Journalists On Terrorism Charges

[Wasn’t defending Democracy in Syria the reason Turkish leaders took charge of the situation?]

Protests and Controversy Shadow KCK Press Case

The mass trial of 44 journalists, newspaper staff and distributors in the scope of the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) case opened in Istanbul this week amid concerns of journalists groups and human rights advocates that the trials are politically motivated to silence opposition press.

The suspects, 36 of whom have been under arrest for more than a year, are accused of working for the “press and distribution network” of the outlawed KCK, the alleged Kurdish umbrella organisation that includes the PKK.

An indictment more than 800 pages accuses all the major Kurdish media organs and news agencies of being under the direct orders of KCK. Journalists, editors, accountants and distributers are accused of “being a member of a [terrorist] organisation,” among other things.

“This trial is meaningful in the quality of being the biggest journalists’ trial in the history of the Republic of Turkey,” Necati Abay, spokesperson for the Solidarity with the Arrested Journalists Platform, said. “This trial is a typical example of mass injustice for journalists.”

Head Judge Ali Alcik and defence lawyers repeatedly clashed over court proceedings in what the defense termed a politically motivated case based on circumstantial evidence.

On Monday, Alcik allowed a limited audience in the courtroom as public protests outside the courtroom disturbed the proceedings. Monday’s hearing was postponed from the morning to the afternoon after protests outside the courtroom were met by the chants of “the free press cannot be silenced” from inside the courtroom.

Alcik closed the rest of the trial to the public Tuesday and filed charges against those inside the courtroom who chanted. On Wednesday, the court decided to end the trial a day early and move the next four hearings, scheduled to begin on November 12th, to the high security prison of Silivri.

The court discussed the demands of the defense on Thursday and released two defendants — Çağdaş Ulus, reporter for the daily Vatan and Cihat Ablay, employee of the Fırat Distribution Company — pending the trial.

As has been the case in other KCK trials, Alcik denied the defense’s request to allow defendants to speak Kurdish at the trial. Alcik said the defendants know a Turkish and Kurdish defense would prologue the trial. The defense’s argument about the Lausanne Treaty on the rights of the minorities was rejected on the grounds of the Kurds not being recognised as a minority.

In protest against the court’s decision to deny Kurdish defense and hold a closed trial in Silivri, in a symbolic gesture to show they were being muzzled on Wednesday (September 12th) the defendants covered their mouths with black ribbons.

“This [denying defense from giving their testimony in Kurdish] only happens in PKK cases,” Ozcan Kilic, the defense lawyer for the daily Ozgur Gundem, told SES Türkiye, noting that translators are allowed and provided for Kurds who face nonpolitical criminal charges.

Kilic said the suspects do not do this to block or lengthen the trial but “to put a rights issue on the agenda, Kurds use this method.”

Another defense lawyer, Davut Erkan, told SES Türkiye that all of their demands were dismissed, including the request that evidence collected for and used in the indictment illegally not be used, such as police searches not conducted according to the law and wiretapping of private conversations not related to the subject of the trial.

“Our presence there became meaningless. The lawyers made dozens of demands in two days, none was granted,” Erkan said.

The indictment is questionable, according to defense and press rights groups, because regular journalistic or commercial activities are considered under the rubric of taking orders from the PKK.

Meanwhile, the government has defended its stance, with high-level officials including Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan arguing that only a handful of the accused are actual journalists, while accusing the media of distorting news, making propaganda for the PKK and criticising the government.

Mehmet Emin Yildirim, former chief editor of the Kurdish daily Azadiya Welat, is among the accused. The indictment claims he provided logistic support to PKK members based on a piece of paper that was found among his possessions. The paper lists three shaving razors, one tube of toothpaste, one toothbrush, nine batteries and a small radio.

There are also two posting bills for packages containing these materials. The two packages were sent to prisons where Yildirim’s friends, including Vedat Kursun, one of his several imprisoned predecessors as editor-in-chief of Turkey’s sole Kurdish daily. The indictment argues he sent the packages to maintain Kursun’s sympathy to the KCK.

Yildirim, like Kursun and everybody in the indictment also made “terrorist propaganda” through their coverage of the news.

Dicle News Agency reporter Ismail Yildiz reported about a bomb set off inside a trash container near his office. His conversations on the bombing were tapped by the police. In the recording he said he was at the bombsite before other media and “the police are just arriving.” The prosecutors came to the conclusion that he knew about the bomb beforehand as a member of the organisation which set it off.

“We are concerned at the large number of journalists behind bars in Turkey and at the lack of due process in their detention and prosecution,” Nina Ognianova, the Europe and Central Asia Program Co-ordinator of the Committee to Protect Journalists, told SES Türkiye. “We urge Turkish authorities to guarantee the right to a fair trial to all defendants, including their ability to build and present an effective defense in court. In a democracy, no journalist should be jailed for their work.”


Saturday, 15 September 2012

SES Turkiye               

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Media Misses Horrific Nature of Consequences of Regional War In the Middle East

Op-Ed: Arab media views on war with Iran make WW3 sound very ordinary

Sydney– Middle Eastern perceptions of the threat of a war with Iran and those of the West are very different. Exactly how different can be seen in the speculation is appearing online in the region regarding the ramifications of a US/Iran war.

Al Jazeerabelieves that a war with Iran would escalate into a regional war with Iranian “proxies” striking at the US and predicts a war which would make the last decade look “tame by comparison”. This alludes to the Taliban style-asymmetrical warfare pattern and methods similar to the insurgency in Iraq.

None of this is to suggest that the United States would not “win” a war with Iran, but given the incredibly painful costs of Iraq and Afghanistan; wars fought against weak, poorly organised enemies lacking broad influence, politicians campaigning for war with Iran are leading the American people into a battle which will be guaranteed to make the past decade of fighting look tame in comparison.

A recent study has shown that an initial US aerial assault on Iran would require hundreds of planes, ships and missiles in order to be completed; a military undertaking itself unprecedented since the first Gulf War and representative of only the first phase of what would likely be a long drawn-out war of attrition.

For a country already nursing the wounds from the casualties of far less intense conflicts and still reeling from their economic costs, the sheer battle fatigue inherent in a large-scale war with Iran would stand to greatly exacerbate these issues.

Gulf News.com feels that any attack on Iran would simply reinforce the hardline anti-Western policies of the Iranian regime:

The expectation is that the Iranian regime would retaliate — probably by seeking to block oil shipments through the Gulf, with rocket attacks on Israel by Hezbollah, and, quite possibly, with a wider campaign of terrorism. It would also throw its weight behind the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Such predictions, however, gloss over the likely impact within Iran. No one knows for sure, but diplomats privately suggest three probabilities. The first is that bombing would solidify the Iranian leadership, weaken moderate politicians and disarm dissidents. The mullahs would claim they had been right all along about the US.

There in a few paragraphs you have a condensed version of the views in circulation around the Middle East at the moment.

The overall view of the result of an attack on Iran, by Israel with or without or the US:

1. Iran could use its terror networks around the world to attack Israel, the US and its allies.

2. An Iraq-style invasion would be a massive burden for the US.

3. The US doesn’t want another war.

4. The US can’t win a war against Iran by those means.

5. There would be a massive regional conflict, uniting Moslems against the US and Israel.

6. Iran could block the Straits of Hormuz, sending oil prices skyrocketing.

7. Iran may have been passing on “dirty bomb” nuke technology to proxies.

8. Iran has previously threatened strikes on the US in the event of a conflict.

9. The US can’t win a guerrilla-style Vietnam or Afghanistan type of war.

Underselling World War 3

There you also have the seeds of World War 3. These theories work on the basis of a traditional regional limited war. You can almost hear the geniuses talking about atomic suicide bombers. They assume that the same tactics which have dragged out conflicts would be too much for the American public or politicians to stomach.

Unfortunately, this is a rather complacent viewpoint. It really does sound like “business as usual”. The world has changed since 2001. The probability is that these tactics would be more than they’d be prepared to tolerate. The mindset of the world has changed. The only real “success” of Al Qaeda in its September 11 attack was to make the rest of the world perceive radical Islam as a threat. Iran’s involvement in supporting various groups in the region and its record of supporting terrorist groups around the world makes it a credibly dangerous threat.

That credibility is likely to become an own goal. Iran, in short, has become the best possible excuse for anti-Islamist hardliners to make political capital. Any attack by Iranian or Islamic groups in support of Iran in the case of a conflict would be a cause for rabble-rousing.

Worse, it would be an excuse for much more drastic types of warfare. The lessons of Afghanistan don’t quite apply in the case of a war against a nation. An enemy nation is a legitimate target. The US could simply stand off and fire its weapons, without invading, and destroy Iran. There would be no need to invade.

(Arguably, that’s exactly what the US should have done in Iraq. Simply destroying the regime’s military support, destroying the nuclear facilities beyond recovery and letting the locals argue it out among themselves would suffice. It’s a lot cheaper, too. It’s more than likely that the US would look for a simpler and less expensive option in any future Middle East war.)

Then there’s the capacity of Iran to hit targets in the West and the US. Another potential own goal, and a big one. Escalation by attacks on the West could backfire, badly. The use of “dirty bombs” or small nukes (there are quite a few ex-Soviet small “suitcase bombs” in circulation) could be a legitimate reason for the use of heavy nukes against Iran. Terror strikes in general could cause civil reprisals, as 9/11 did in the US. A dirty bomb or small nuke strike on Israel would inevitably get instant, massive retaliation.

There are no guarantees of a mere war of attrition under these circumstances. Nor is there much to be gained for the people in the region. Food prices would go up enormously as foreign imports dried up. Trade would become impossible. The black market, already thriving in Iran, would do very nicely, but the rich nations in the Gulf and elsewhere would get an entirely negative effect.

The Middle East, without trade, would become a human desert. The huge populations in this region would be at risk from multiple shortages. Iran’s very large population, without infrastructure, would be in a terrible position.

Fighting people isn’t the same thing as fighting politicians and lawyers

There’s another factor- People. In the past, guerrillas have fought politicians trying to stay in power and armies playing by rules. In a real war, those niceties aren’t in play. In 1945, massive attacks on civilian targets like Dresden, Tokyo and Eastern Europe were commonplace. The “civilized” allies weren’t very civilized at all. The hatred generated by years of war was literally translated into firestorms and massive attacks on cities.

The Middle East has never seen a war with whole countries literally obliterated from the face of the Earth. From Berlin to Moscow was one big graveyard of wrecked cities and millions of dead. About 24 million people died. People were killed simply for being German or Russian or just being in the wrong place. There were no laws in force at the time of the actual fighting. In one attack, the US Air Force burned Tokyo to the ground and killed about 100,000 people in a fire bombing raid.

That’s what a real war is like. Fighting politicians and lawyers isn’t the same thing as fighting people. The guerrilla methods of the past will be truly obsolete weapons if the sleeping but very ugly and merciless monster of vengeful human hatred is aroused. World War 3, in fact, won’t be fought so much with weapons, but with mindsets.

All involved are advised not to push those buttons. You can’t un-push them afterwards.

This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com

Stupid, Insulting Prank Islamaphobic Video Costs Multiple Lives

The Muslim world is against U.S.

At least three people were killed in clashes with police, protesters at the U.S. Embassy in Tunisia, writes Interfax .

In Tunisia, the evening of September 14, demonstrators broke into the U.S. Embassy and started setting fire to trees and beat the windows in the building of the embassy.

According to Reuters citing witness an event, the attack was accompanied by clashes with the police, who tried to drive away the people with tear gas. In addition, the police tried to prevent the attack on the embassy, ​​shooting into the air, but that did not stop the crowd.

According to CNN, a group of people went to the U.S. Embassy in Tunis after Friday prayers. Among those who participated in the attack, many Wahhabi (or Salafi) – representatives of the radical movement of Islam.

Another attack on the U.S. Embassy on Friday occurred in Khartoum, the Sudanese capital. There, the police also opened fire, but the protesters were able to break into the embassy grounds. Details about what is happening in Khartoum at the moment.

According to Agence France-Presse , September 14 earlier in Sudan protesters broke into the embassy and the UK. In the attacks, according to various estimates, took part from 5 to 10 thousand people.

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Germany, said that the staff of the diplomatic mission in safety, said AFP. Germany, fearing demonstrations after Friday prayers, announced the closure of its offices in the Muslim countries. Germany’s Foreign Ministry has decided to close the diplomatic mission in Afghanistan, Pakistan and some North African countries. Such a decision is connected with possible protests against the film “The innocence of Muslims”, filmed in the U.S., the newspaper said Spiegel .

The protests, related to the release of the American amateur film “innocent Muslims” in which Islam is in a bad light, pass and other Arab countries.

According Lenta.Ru , Tripoli in Lebanon during the demonstration, one person died and another 25 were injured. Who they were, not specified. Demonstrators in Tripoli attacked the restaurant from the network KFC.

In the capital, Sana’a, Yemen, demonstrators gathered in 500 meters from the U.S. embassy and burned the American flag. However, they shouted, “Go away, slave devil. Leave, Ambassador Americans” and “Death to America, Death to Israel.” The police did not let them come to the building of the diplomatic mission. The day before, on September 13 in Sana’a trying to enter the U.S. Embassy killed four people.

Hundreds of people gathered in various cities of Pakistan, demanding the death of the author and film expulsion of American diplomats. There were no incidents during the demonstrations were not. The police immediately after the riots in the Muslim countries to strengthen protection of diplomatic missions in the United States Pakistan.

Continued protests in Iran. Several thousand people marched through the center of Tehran, shouting “Death to America” ​​and “Death to Israel.”

In the Indonesian capital Jakarta, near the U.S. Embassy gathered about 350 radical Islamists protesting the film.

In Bangladesh, the demonstration was attended by 10,000 people. They burned American and Israeli flags and tried to march to the U.S. embassy, ​​but the police stopped them for a few miles. In general, the AFP, protest in Bangladesh was peaceful. Obtain and peaceful demonstration in Malaysia.

Protests in Muslim countries began on 11 September. Islamists, angry amateur American film “innocent Muslims” attacked the U.S. diplomatic mission in Cairo and Benghazi. In Benghazi, killing four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens. After the attacks of the U.S. embassies stepped up security.

Meanwhile, the bodies of 11 dead in attack on U.S. Embassy in Benghazi four Americans taken to the air base outside Washington, according to BBC Russian Service of the BBC . The attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya killed the country’s ambassador Chris Stevens and three other embassy staff.

The funeral was attended by President Barack Obama, he promised that justice will prevail and those responsible for the deaths of Americans will be punished. U.S. leader also said that Washington would respond immediately to such aggressive action.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, also attended the ceremony, called on people of Middle Eastern countries to end the violence. As noted by RIA Novosti, U.S. Secretary of State once again pointed out that the government has nothing to do with the film “innocent Muslims”, which became a cause unrest in a number of Muslim countries.

Terrorists Lob Grenade Into Atyrau Interior Department, One Wounded

[SEE:  Atrau, Kazakhstan Anti-Terrorist Operation]

PHOTO: Blast in Atyrau Interior Department, one wounded

vesti.ru
PHOTO: Blast in Atyrau Interior Department, one wounded

Photo courtesy of azh.kz
Three unknown persons threw explosives into the lobby of the city’s Interior Department late Friday evening in Atyrau, the main city of Kazakhstan oil reach west, a source in Atyrau law-enforcement authorities told Interfax-Kazakhstan on Saturday.

According to the speaker, the blast injured one duty officer. The criminals ran away. According to Interfax-Kazakhstan, the Interior Department building was cordoned off after the incident. An ambulance and fire-fighters arrived at the site. The site was also checked by chief officers, special services and emergency situations department officers, as well as by Atyrau Akim (Mayor) Serik Aidarbekov.

According to the witnesses, a operational investigation group pulled over several cars near the central city square, searched the cars and took fingerprints.

Meanwhile, local citizens heard over 10 shots in Atyrau Microregion in the outskirts of the city the same night. Kamaz trucks full of soldiers were noticed around the city.

Officials and law-enforcement authorities have not made any official statements yet

For more information see: http://en.tengrinews.kz/crime/PHOTO-Blast-in-Atyrau-Interior-Department-one-wounded-12988/
Use of the Tengrinews English materials must be accompanied by a hyperlink to en.Tengrinews.kz

More Insurgents Killed On the Dagestani Caspian Coast

In Dagestan, in the battle killed three militants

В Дагестане в ходе боя уничтожены трое боевиков

Photo ITAR-TASS

MAKHACHKALA, September 15. / Itar-Tass Safronov /. The village Khutro Tsuntinsky region of Dagestan in the battle, according to preliminary reports, three militants killed, two others were locked in one of the houses on the outskirts of the village.

As reported by Itar-Tass republican Interior Ministry, “as a result of law enforcement officers clash with members of illegal armed groups were injured three workers of the Ministry of Interior, members of a special group of fire.”

According to authorities, one of them – OMON officer for the Republic of Adygea died.

Measures to eliminate the militants continues, the person killed bandits set.

Not Enough Imperial Spies To Watch Over All the New Fiefdoms–Send-In the Drones and the Jar-Heads

Ambassador’s killing: US scrambles to rush spies, drones to Libya

Ambassador's killing: US scrambles to rush spies, drones to Libya
The US is sending more spies, Marines and drones to Libya, trying to speed the search for those who killed the US ambassador and three other Americans.
WASHINGTON: The US is sending more spies, Marines and drones to Libya, trying to speed the search for those who killed the US ambassador and three other Americans, but the investigation is complicated by a chaotic security picture in the post-revolutionary country, and limited American and Libyan intelligence resources.

The CIA has fewer people available to send, stretched thin from tracking conflicts across the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

And the Libyans have barely re-established full control of their country, much less rebuilt their intelligence service, less than a year after the overthrow of dictator Moammar Gaddafi.

The US has already deployed an FBI investigation team, trying to track al-Qaida sympathizers thought to be responsible for turning a demonstration over an anti-Islamic video into a violent, coordinated militant attack on the US consulate in Benghazi.

Ambassador Chris Stevens, and three other embassy employees were killed after a barrage of small arms, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars tore into the consulate buildings in Benghazi on Tuesday, the 11th anniversary of 9/11, setting the buildings on fire.

President Barack Obama said in a Rose Garden statement the morning after the attack that those responsible would be brought to justice. That may not be swift. Building a clearer picture of what happened will take more time, and possibly more people, US officials said on Friday.

Intelligence officials are reviewing telephone intercepts, computer traffic and other clues gathered in the days before the attacks, and Libyan law enforcement has made some arrests. But investigators have found no evidence pointing conclusively to a particular group or to indicate the attack was planned, White House spokesman Jay Carney said, adding, “This is obviously under investigation.”

Early indications suggest the attack was carried out not by the main al-Qaida terror group but “al-Qaida sympathizers,” said a US intelligence official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the investigation publicly.

One of the leading suspects is the Libyan-based Islamic militant group Ansar al-Shariah, led by former Guantanamo detainee Sufyan bin Qumu. The group denied responsibility in a video Friday but did acknowledge its fighters were in the area during what it called a “popular protest” at the consulate, according to Ben Venzke of the IntelCenter, a private analysis firm that monitors Jihadist media for the US intelligence community.

The US had been watching threat assessments from Libya for months but none offered warnings of the Benghazi attack, according to another intelligence official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about US intelligence matters.

Senator Susan Collins questioned whether the consulate had taken sufficient security measures, given an attempt to attack the consulate in Benghazi a few months ago.

Carney said that given the 9/11 anniversary, security had been heightened.

“It was, unfortunately, not enough,” he said.

That paucity of resources also applies to the intelligence officers available to monitor Libya on the ground.

With ongoing counterterrorism operations in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen, as well as the civil war in Syria, the CIA’s clandestine and paramilitary officer corps is simply running out of trained officers to send, US officials say, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the deployment of intelligence personnel publicly. The clandestine service is roughly 5,000 officers strong, and the paramilitary corps sent to war zones is only in the hundreds, the officials said.

Most of the CIA’s paramilitary team dispatched to Libya during the revolution had been sent onward to the Syrian border, the officials said.

The CIA normally hires extra people to make up for such shortfalls, often retired special operators with the requisite security clearance, military training and language ability. But the government mandate to slash contractor use has meant cutting contracts, according to two former officials familiar with the agency’s current hiring practices.

To fill in the gaps in spies on the ground, the US intelligence community has kept up surveillance over Libya with unmanned and largely unarmed Predator and Reaper drones, increasing the area they cover, and the frequency of their flights since the attack on the consulate, as well as sending more surveillance equipment to the region, one official said.

But intelligence gathered from the air still needs corroboration from sources on the ground, as well as someone to act on the intelligence to go after the targets.

The Libyan government, though it claims it is eager to help, has limited tools at its disposal. The post-revolution government has been slow to rebuild both its intelligence capability and its security services, fearful of empowering the very institutions they had to fight to overthrow Gaddafi. They have made a start, but they lack a sophisticated cadre of trained spies and a large network of informants.

“The Libyans in just about every endeavor are just learning to walk, let alone run,” said Paul Pillar, a former senior CIA official and author of the book “Intelligence and US Foreign Policy.”

“There is confusion and competing elements within the new provisional government which complicates the task of creating new institutions, including the intelligence service,” he said.

“There are still some aspects of the intelligence services that still work,” says Barak Barfi of the New America Foundation think tank, including eavesdropping on cellphone calls and spying on computer traffic using equipment from the Gaddafi era. Barfi spent months with members of Libya’s transitional government as they tried to rebuild the nation’s services and infrastructure.

But the Libyans have not yet even taken full command their own security services almost a year after Gaddafi’s fall, Barfi said. That’s given the tens of thousands of militiamen who helped overthrow Gaddafi the time they needed to organize and seek new targets, especially Western ones, he said.