#AceNewsReport – Oct.18: On Thursday, at least seven people were killed and 60 others injured after unknown gunmen attacked Hezbollah and Amal supporters as they passed through Beirut’s Teyouneh traffic circle dividing Christian and Shia Muslim neighborhoods.
#AceDailyNews says according to PressTV report a senior journalist identifies one of Beirut snipers as employee of US embassy: In a post on his twitter account below Hosein Mortada released a photo of Shukri Abu Saab, a member of the Lebanese security forces and a US embassy employee, and said he had been one of the snipers involved in the recent deaths in Beirut.
The demonstrators had taken to the streets of Lebanese capital to protest against the politicization of a judicial investigation into the 2020 port blast that devastated swathes of Beirut and left over 200 people dead.
The violence was the worst in more than a decade and stirred memories of Lebanon’s ruinous 1975-90 civil war.
In a statement, Hezbollah and Amal said armed groups affiliated with Samir Geagea’s Christian Lebanese Forces (LF) Party fired at the protesters from rooftops, aiming at their heads, in an attempt to drag the country into new sectarian strife.
Speaking at the funeral of victims of Thursday’s shootings, senior Hezbollah leader Hashem Safieddine said what happened in Beirut “was part of measures managed by the US embassy in Lebanon and funded by some Arab parties.”
Lebanon has been mired since late 2019 in a deep financial crisis, which has pushed more than half the nearly 7 million population into poverty. The dire situation was worsened by more than a year without a fully functioning government in the Mediterranean country.
The US exacerbated the crisis by imposing a siege on Lebanon in a bid to force the formation of a Western-friendly administration there.
#AceNewsReport – June.16: Working as a correspondent for the Daily Jang – Pakistan’s largest Urdu language newspaper – in the southern city of Mirpurkhas, Zubair Mujahid’s reporting exposed local corruption and human rights abuses. Zubair Mujahid was murdered in November 2007 during the turbulent downfall of the regime of Pervez Musharraf:
Strikingly, some of his most impactful stories exposed wrongdoings by the local police in Mirpurkhas, which led to the dismissal of various police officers. As a consequence, Zubair Mujahid received threats from individuals within the police department. This very same department was tasked with investigating the murder.
The report reveals serious errors in the official police investigation. Specifically, it finds that police investigators did not analyse the bullet with which Zubair was shot and did not search for eye witnesses around the crime scene.
Cycle of impunity
The report calls for an effective and impartial investigation team to re-investigate the murder. This must be done under the auspices of the High Court of Sindh.
“Zubair Mujahid was murdered for exposing the truth. The murder must now be adequately investigated and justice must be achieved,” said Christophe Deloire, Secretary General of RSF.
“Killing a journalist is the world’s safest crime: in nine out of ten cases the killer goes free,” said Leon Willems, Director at FPU. “To break the cycle of impunity, Pakistan’s authorities must step up their efforts to ensure justice for Zubair Mujahid.”
“Pakistan has seen almost total impunity for the murder of journalists over the past decade,” said Joel Simon, Executive Director of CPJ. “Re-investigating the case of Zubair Mujahid is an important step towards breaking the cycle of impunity.”
Pakistan is one of the most dangerous countries for journalists. According to research by the CPJ, at least 61 journalists have been killed since 1992. On the most recent World Press Freedom Index published by RSF, the country ranks 145 out of 180.
The report “Breaking the Silence: An Investigation into the Murder of Zubair Mujahid” was published as part of A Safer World For The Truth, an initiative by FPU, RSF and CPJ), to pursue justice for murdered journalists worldwide. The report is the second in a series of investigations into unsolved murders of journalists worldwide.
#AceNewsReport – June.14: Mohsen Rezaei, a conservative candidate for the Iranian Presidency, said in a recent interview that his plan to boost the country’s ailing economy was to kidnap 1,000 Americans and demand several million dollars in ransom per hostage:
Iranian presidential candidate: Fix economy by taking 1,000 Americans hostage,” by Dan Verbin, Arutz Sheva, June 11, 2021: Iranian journalist and activist Masih Alinejad posted a video of Rezaei’s statement to Twitter.
“This is surreal. Mohsen Rezaei candidate for Iran presidential elections said he’d take 1000 more American hostages to boost iran’s economy. For every hostage he’d ask several (million dollars) as a solution to Iran’s failing economy,” she tweeted along with the hashtags #IraniansBoycottElections and #NotVotingForIR.
In the video, an anchor said in Farsi, “So he’d take hostages to extort money.”
The video cuts to a clip Rezaei who said, “We’ll take 1,000 Americans hostage. America will have to pay several billions to get every single one freed.”
“This is how we can solve our economic problems,” he added.
Rezaei was described by Saeid Jafari writing for the Atlantic Council as a “perpetual candidate” for the presidency.
He first ran for president in 2005. He also ran in 2009 and 2013.
Reza [sic] was the Iranian Republican Guard Corps commander-in-chief for 17 years….
#AceNewsReport – May.07: From the time Eduard Shmonin was a young man, he always wanted to be a gangster: The business model he adopted involved digging up dirt on officials and industry players — and then publishing it or withholding it, depending on the bidder:
SIBERIA: A Siberian Muckraker Exposed Massive Oil Theft: Now Russia Wants To Imprison Him For 11 Years: ‘But disillusionment with Russia’s criminal world came quickly for the Sverdlovsk region native after he served two years in prison for burglary in the 1990s. Shmonin, now 50, instead decided to get into journalism — a profession that he quickly determined was inextricable from local battles over money, resources, and influence’ I understood at the time that the job of a journalist is to get paid for what he doesn’t write,” Shmonin told RFE/RL’s Russian Service, known locally as Radio Svoboda, last year.
May 04, 2021 12:01 GMT
Now prosecutors have asked a court to sentence Shmonin to 11 years in prison on charges of blackmail and distributing pornography — allegations linked to media operations he ran in Russia’s oil-rich Khanti-Mansi Autonomous District in western Siberia.
A verdict in Shmonin’s trial in Surgut, in western Siberia, which has been closed to the public, is expected next week.
And while Shmonin has never denied trafficking in “kompromat,” or compromising information, he believes he was targeted for an entirely different reason: a documentary he released exposing evidence of massive oil theft in the Khanti-Mansi region with the complicity of corrupt law enforcement officials.
An archive of materials gathered by Shmonin for the exposé and a planned sequel that never aired served as a pillar of an independent investigation by Radio Svoboda in March exposing the central role that Federal Security Service (FSB) and Interior Ministry officials play in the industrial-scale theft of oil from Russia’s network of pipelines.
Radio Svoboda was able to independently corroborate numerous details of this illicit business, which, according to a 2013 estimate by state-owned investment bank VTB Capital, costs Russian oil companies $1.8 billion to $3.5 billion annually and the Russian budget $632 million to $1.2 billion.
Shmonin released his documentary, Criminal Oil, in November 2016 and was arrested the following April on not only the blackmail and pornography charges, but also for suspected libel based on a complaint by four individuals mentioned in the film — all of whom worked in security for a subsidiary of Rosneft, the state oil giant whose CEO, Igor Sechin, is a close ally of President Vladimir Putin.
One of the plaintiffs was a retired FSB general, and the other was a former FSB officer who has since been arrested and charged with oil theft.
Shmonin was held for nearly a year in pretrial detention, while his muckraking website and his TV channel, Yugra Public Television, ceased operations. He claims that, during his detention, he was tortured by FSB officers who tried to force him to reveal who financed the Criminal Oil documentary.
“They said, ‘You have three options to get out of here: You can be carried out of here feet first; you can eat the charges, we’ll release you on bail, and you leave the country; or you reveal who is behind you and we will classify you as a witness,’” Shmonin told Radio Svoboda, adding that he told investigators the documentary was made on his own initiative.Shmonin protesting in 2010 in defense of his kompromat-filled website. His sign reads: “Corrupt cops: Fight corruption, not the media.”
Shmonin claimed his interrogators then wrapped a plastic bag over his head and tased him, though Radio Svoboda was unable to independently corroborate his torture claims. The FSB did not respond to requests for comment sent in March.
A funny thing happened on the way to the verdict in Shmonin’s case: A trove of evidence went missing or was damaged, including hard drives, computers, mobile phones, and flash drives that authorities had confiscated. And the libel charges related to his Criminal Oil documentary were ultimately dropped.
Of the 13 original charges Shmonin faced, only two remain: blackmail and illegal distribution of pornography.
The blackmail charge relates to Shmonin’s alleged demand for money from Yevgeny Vostrikov, a lawmaker in the Khanti-Mansi city of Nefteyugansk, in exchange for withholding release of a film in which he was accused, among other things, of domestic abuse and trafficking in drugs. (Many of these allegations had already appeared on Shmonin’s websites prior to the film’s eventual release.)
The pornography charge relates to a secretly recorded video showing a sexual encounter between a lawmaker in the city of Nizhnevartovsk and another man. Shmonin has denied releasing the video.
He insists that the evidence that went missing in his case includes alibis that would exonerate him.
All of these developments have taken place behind closed doors. The trial was closed to the public, formally because of the intimate nature of the video related to the pornography charge.
Shmonin, who has been out on bail since 2018 pending a verdict in the trial, is barred by law from discussing the case with the media.
Meanwhile, the trial of Roman Chernogor — the former FSB officer who filed a libel complaint against Shmonin over his Criminal Oil film — continues.
Chernogor has been charged with illegally tapping into oil pipelines. His co-defendant, former FSB officer Vladimir Chernakov, was also implicated in oil-theft schemes in Shmonin’s film.
Written by Carl Schreck based on reporting by RFE/RL Russian Service correspondent Sergei Khazov-Cassia.
Sergei Khazov-Cassia is a correspondent in Moscow for RFE/RL’s Russian Service.
#AceNewsReport – Mar.23: Information by TOI reported says that Ajay was killed on the insistence of a local Muslim politician of Sindh who has not only lend his support to the Islamic clerics having a major role in the conversion of Hindu girls to Islam but also provides shelter to them since Ajay had been exposing their deeds.’ said a source. ‘We believe that the said politician had orchestrated his murder,’ the source said.”
Pakistan: Hindu journalist who exposed Muslim clerics involved in conversion of Hindu girls is shot dead: ‘A 31-year-old journalist belonging to the minority Hindu community of Pakistan was shot dead by some unidentified assailants on Wednesday (17 March) in Sindh province’ The Times of India reports: “’
Mar 22, 2021 2:00 pm:
“Pakistani Journalist Ajay Lalwani, Who Exposed Islamic Clerics Involved In Conversion Of Hindu Girls, Shot Dead In Sindh,” Swarajya, March 20, 2021:
Ajay Lalvani who was a reporter with a private Royal News TV channel and an Urdu language newspaper Daily Puchano died on Thursday (18 March) after he sustained bullet injuries in stomach, arm and knee.
#AceWorldNews – TURKEY:Jan.06:A journalist from the Netherlands, who is based in the predominantly Kurdish city of Diyarbakir in the south east of the country, had been allegedly arrested by Turkish police on terrorism charges. Though the story l have uncovered states the following:
‘ Frederike Geerdink tweeted – Screenshot from 2015-01-06 21:24:58 ‘
Frederike Geerdink tweeted that police had searched her home and were taking her into custody on charges related to “propaganda for a terrorist organization,” Reuters reports.
A police official said on condition of anonymity that the journalist, who works for Het Parool in the Netherlands and the UK’s Independent, had been detained on the prosecutor’s order and would be released after giving a statement.
The arrest comes on the same day President Tayyip Erdogan said that Turkish journalists enjoy more freedom than anywhere in Europe, amid allegations that Turkey was persecuting the country’s media.
The other three people in the group are reportedly ANNA news agency’s cameraman, an employee of the press service of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, and possibly an acquaintance of Phillips, who accompanied the journalist to the airport.
“Our cameraman, Vadim, was working in the epicenter of the fighting, RT’s stringer was next to him,” ANNA news agency reported.
The agency cites anonymous sources, saying the group of four was taken hostage by Ukrainian troops.
“According to the information we have, they have been captured by Ukrainian troops. This information has been confirmed by the self-defence forces,” the head of ANNA news agency’s Ukrainian bureau, Konstantin Knyrik, told RT.
UK journalist and RT contributor Graham Phillips (Photo from grahamwphillips.com)
The last time Phillips got in touch with Moscow was on the evening of Tuesday, July 22.
The stringer informed Moscow he was planning to go to Donetsk airport, currently the most active war-zone in the regional centre besieged by Kiev’s troops and National Guard.
“We urged him not to go, because of the obvious risks, but based on the messages that appeared in social media a bit later, he decided to go there anyway, alongside another group of journalists,” RT’s statement maintains.
#AceWorldNews – CAIRO – April 01 – Prosecutors in Egypt are blaming five masked gunmen from the Muslim Brotherhood for killing a woman journalist and four others the day before in Cairo, a judicial source said Saturday(AL-AN)
A protester who attended the Islamist demonstration said it was the police who had opened fire.
Journalist Mayada Ashraf from the privately owned Al-Dustour newspaper was shot in the head as she covered clashes between police and supporters of deposed Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in the northern neighbourhood of Ein Shams.