Tag Archives: State

Turkish Journalists Detained for Reporting on Weapons Allegedly Supplied to ISIS

Two Turkish journalists, being held for publishing controversial reports, are calling on the European Union not to compromise on human rights as it works toward making an agreement with Turkey regarding the flow of refugees.

Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan’s rule has become authoritarian, but Western governments appear weary of creating conflict while remaining dependent on Turkey for refugee help. Turkey is well known for human rights violations and suppressing freedom of speech. Several journalists have been held and possibly murdered for reporting on the crimes of the Turkish government.

Can Dundar, editor-in-chief of the Cumhuriyet newspaper, and senior editor Erdem Gul are both being held in Silivri prison near Istanbul for publishing photos which purportedly show Turkish intelligence sending weapons into Syria. Last week, both men wrote to EU leaders asking them to consider Turkey’s human rights record before making a deal with the nation.

[pull_quote_center]We would also like to hope that your desire to end the crisis will not stand in the way of your sensitivity towards human rights, freedom of press and expression as fundamental values of the Western world.[/pull_quote_center]

U.S. State Dept. spokesperson Mark Toner released a statement on Thursday concerning the arrests of Dünbar and Gül:

“We are troubled by the pre-trial arrest yesterday of senior editors of the respected Turkish newspaper Cumhuriyet.

“The investigation, criminal charges, and arrest raise serious concerns about the Turkish government’s commitment to the fundamental principle of media freedom. These events are only the latest in a series of judicial and law enforcement actions taken under questionable circumstances against Turkish media outlets critical of the government.

“We call on Turkish authorities to ensure that all individuals and organizations — including but not limited to the media — are free to voice a full range of opinions and criticism, in accordance with Turkey’s constitutional guarantees of media freedom and freedom of expression.”

Although the State Department, the U.S. embassy in Turkey and the Council of Europe have criticized the arrests, the European Union and Turkey signed an agreement on Sunday to help with the overwhelming flow of people across Europe.

Jean Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, said the deal “would not lead to a situation where we forget about the main differences and divergences we have with Turkey – human rights and freedom of the press.”

Is Turkey arming ISIS?

But what about the claims made by the reporters at Cumhuriyet? Is there any truth to the claims that the Turkish intelligence agency is shipping weapons into Syria?

RT visited the newspaper’s office in Istanbul, and spoke with reporters to find out more about the claims. The reporters told RT about a convoy carrying weapons. RT writes:

“Those who sent the convoy from Turkey knew that the weapons were ‘heading to end [up] in ISIS hands,’ one of the Cumhuriyet bosses told RT’s Ilya Petrenko. ‘There was that flag that belongs to ISIS… [it could be seen] very clearly [from] Turkish border line,’ the journalist said.

Turkish officials made contradictory statements after the paper blew the whistle, first saying that the arms ‘were going to the Free Syrian Army,’ then denying the delivery altogether, and then saying the ‘aid was destined for the Turkmen.'”

Journalist Serena Shim had previously reported similar claims about Turkish intelligence. Shim, a journalist with Iranian Press TV, was threatened by Turkish officials after reporting that ISIS supporters were being smuggled across the Syrian-Turkish border. Shim was killed in a car accident in 2014, just days after she said she was accused of being a spy.

“I believe my daughter gave her life for the truth,” Judy Poe, Shim’s mother, told Fox News. “I absolutely suspect foul play.”

The idea that Turkey is supporting the Islamic State through arms is not necessarily a new claim. In May, Reuters reported:

Turkey’s state intelligence agency helped deliver arms to parts of Syria under Islamist rebel control during late 2013 and early 2014, according to a prosecutor and court testimony from gendarmerie officers seen by Reuters.

The witness testimony contradicts Turkey’s denials that it sent arms to Syrian rebels and, by extension, contributed to the rise of Islamic State, now a major concern for the NATO member.”

These reports are largely absent from mainstream journalism and television pundits. When discussing ISIS and the danger they pose the corporate media is quick to point to human rights violations and why we must stop the terror group. What they are less likely to tell you is that allies of the United States, including Turkey, Israel, and Saudi Arabia, are responsible for atrocious acts of violence and supporting the rebels which led to the current Islamic State.

With the recent escalation between Turkey and Russia, it seems as if the proxy-war between the NATO nations and Russia/Syria/Iran is coming to head. As Ben Swann explains below, it seems the U.S. government and its allies were aware that ISIS would rise to power, and used the event as a pretext for bombing Syria and attempting to remove Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.


Eric Frein ‘will face justice’: death penalty will be sought

A seven week manhunt ended Thursday night with the capture of Eric Frein, a survivalist, who allegedly killed a Pennsylvania state trooper, and prosecutors for the case say they will seek the death penalty.

Frein, 31, was lead to the Pike County courthouse Friday amidst jeers and heckles from county locals who came out to see the man at the center of the manhunt which began on Sept. 12.

On that date, Frein supposedly used a high-powered rifle to kill Cpl. Bry0n Dickson, 38, and wound Trooper Alex Douglass, 31, outside of the Blooming Grove state police barracks.

State police began to scour the forests in the area in search of Frein after they had found an abandoned vehicle nearby, registered to Frein, with shell casings matching those found at the barracks.  FOX News reports the vehicle also contained camouflage face paint, two empty rifle casings, and various military-style gear.

When searching the forests, police found a journal allegedly belonging to Frein which described the shooting of the two officers.  Police also found campsites supposedly used by Frein and booby trapped pipe bombs in the woods.

US Marshals were used in the manhunt, and it was the Marshals who saw Frein, unarmed, in an overgrown field near an abandoned hangar Thursday.  This led to a sweep of the area, which yielded Frein without incident.

State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan, gave a statement late Thursday at a press conference after the capture, saying, “He did not just give up because he was tired… He gave up because he was caught.”

Many in the community, including the families of Dickson and Douglass have expressed relief at the capture of Frein.

The charges against Frein are widespread and include, according to USA Today, first-degree murder, homicide of a police officer, and possession of weapons of mass destruction.  He is being held without bail and his preliminary hearing is scheduled for Nov. 12.

Black Box in Cars: More Spying Programs by Federal and State Governments

With car gas mileage improving and people driving less due to high gas prices, the government is looking for a new way to raise taxes for road maintenance.  Their solution involves tracking cars using a small “black box” and taxing their drivers per mile driven.  Some states, such as Oregon, have already been testing such a system for a number of years.

Black_box_2_car_IMG_0003Advocates say that a new method of generating government revenue for road maintenance is necessary.  They say it is unfair that people who drive higher gas mileage vehicles don’t have to pay as much tax money for road maintenance, simply because their cars are more fuel efficient.  The irony, of course, is that the government subsidizes “green energy” to try to prompt more people to use these sources of energy.  Hybrid cars have become increasingly popular in recent years, and now their drivers are having some benefits of their use stripped away.

People also say the black box could help the government to change traffic flow.  By taxing some streets more and some less, they could persuade people to choose some routes over others, rather than individuals simply choosing the faster or shorter route (which would also use less fuel).  Indeed many cars are already made with black boxes to help police determine exactly what happened in traffic accidents.  Some are trying to make this mandatory.

The most obvious problem with the plan is the inevitable violations of privacy which will result.  Government databases would store exactly where individual citizens went, their day-to-day routines, when they did anything, and how fast they were going at any given moment.  Such data could be used for anything, from studies to purchase by private companies to use by law enforcement.  Such widespread tracking would do to everyday life what the NSA has done to internet and phone communication.

Though hybrid cars and electric cars would be charged the same as “gas guzzlers,” many of the people who use the roads and currently pay no taxes would continue to avoid payment.  Nationwide, the government is putting hundreds of millions of dollars into building bike paths – at a cost of $5,000-$50,000/mile – but bicycles would not be taxed for this use.  Advocates claim that this would even out the cost per driver and is therefore more fair, people requiring some of the most expensive work would continue to avoid paying the tax.

Some states have proposed variations on the plan to address these concerns.  Some have said there would be no GPS device in the black boxes, though at that point there is no reason the odometer can’t simply be checked at required emissions tests.  Some have proposed simply taxing tires.  Some have allowed an “opt out” solution in which people who refused to use the black box would be charged for the average miles driven in their state.  Some say that a simple raise in the gas tax – an 18.5 cent per gallon tax which hasn’t been raised in 20 years – would be a better solution.

House Republicans stopped a $90 million federal test of the per mileage concept passed by the Senate in 2011.  It’s not surprising that the majority of people who support such a plan are urban “progressives.”  With cities being more dense than rural areas, people who live there have to drive fewer miles to get where they’re going, but they have a much lower MPG driving there.  Many use public transportation, which is already riddled with privacy violations such as surveillance cameras and trackable passes connected to credit card data.

Some libertarians seem to be in favor of the proposal, however. Adrian Moore of the Reason Foundation told the LA Times that it’s an acceptable action because “People are paying more directly into what they are getting.”

The Tea Party and ACLU, however aren’t as keen on the idea.  There are simply too many privacy violations involved, as well as this being yet another tax on American citizens who are already being crushed by new taxes, higher healthcare costs and a crippled economy.  Even when much of the 2009 stimulus went to infrastructure, much of that money was used on projects with no significant value.  There is no guarantee that higher taxes would lead to better roads.