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Killed in Turkey: No investigation two years after suspicious death of American journalist Serena Shim

October 19 marks two years since the very sudden and suspicious death of American journalist Serena Shim near Suruç, Turkey, close to the Syrian border.

Eva Bartlett

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Although all signs point to foul play, indeed murder, by Turkish intelligence, until now the US government has neither conducted nor demanded an inquiry into the events of the alleged car accident which Turkish officials say was the cause of Shim’s death, let alone offer condolences to the family.

Serena Shim was at the time reporting on Ayn al-Arab (Kobani), from the Turkish side. She was, in her own words, one of the first, if not the first, on the ground to report on ,“Takfiri militants going in through the Turkish border”. These include not only ISIS but also terrorists from the so-called Free Syrian Army (FSA).

As Shim’s sister Fatmeh Shim stated in 2015, “She caught them bringing in ISIS high-ranked members into Syria from Turkey into camps, which are supposed to be Syrian refugee camps.”

Serena Shim’s January 2013 expose, “Turkey’s Pivotal Role in Syria’s Insurgency: PressTV Report from Inside Turkey,” showed footage of what she estimated to be 300 semi-trucks “awaiting militants to empty them out”; included testimony explaining how Turkey enables the crossing of foreign terrorists “freely” into Syria; spoke of the funneling of arms via the Incirlik US Air Base in Turkey to terrorists in refugee camps or on through to Syria; and highlighted the issue of terrorist training camps portrayed as refugee camps, guarded by the Turkish military.

Shim named the World Food Organization as one of the NGOs whose trucks were being used to funnel terrorists’ arms into Syria, and stated this in her last interview, just one day before being killed. Notably, in that interview she also explicitly stated that she feared for her life because Turkish intelligence had accused her of being a spy. She told Press TV:

“Turkey has been labeled by Reporters Without Borders as the largest prison for journalists, so I am a bit frightened about what they might use against me… I’m hoping that nothing is going to happen, that it’s going to blow over. I would assume that they are going to take me in for questioning, and the next hope is that my lawyer is good enough to get me out as soon as possible.”

Two days later, Press TV announced her death, stating:

“Serena was killed in a reported car accident when she was returning from a report scene in the city of Suruch in Turkey’s Urfa province. She was going back to her hotel in Urfa when their car collided with a heavy vehicle.”

This was the official version of her death, although in subsequent versions the story changed. In a report one month later, Russia Today (RT) spoke with Shim’s sister, who said:

“There’s so many different stories. The first was that Serena’s car was hit by a heavy vehicle, who proceeded to keep on driving. They could not find the vehicle nor could they find the driver. Two days later, surprisingly, they had found the vehicle and the driver, and had pictures of the heavy vehicle hitting my sister’s car. Every day coming out with new pictures of different degrees of damages that have happened to the car.”

“Serena and my cousin who was the driver of the car were taken to two different hospitals. She was reported first dead at the scene. Then coming out with later reports that she passed away at the hospital 30 minutes later from heart failure?! ”

POLITICAL BLACKOUT, MEDIA BLACKOUT

When on November 20, 2014, at a Daily Press Briefing, RT journalist Gayane Chichakyan twice pressed Director of Press Office, Jeff Rathke, for updates on Shim’s death, he unsurprisingly gave none:


Chichakyan: “It’s about the journalist Serena Shim, who died in Turkey under very suspicious circumstances. Did her death raise suspicions here at the State Department?”

Rathke: “Well, I think we’ve spoken to this in the briefing room several weeks ago, after it happened. I don’t have anything to add to what the spokesperson said at the time, though.”

Chichakyan: “But then she died several days after she claimed she had been threatened by the Turkish intelligence. Have you inquired about this? Have you asked questions? Is there really nothing new about this?”

Rathke: “Well, I just don’t have any update to share with you. Again, this was raised shortly after her death. The spokesperson addressed it. I don’t have an update to share with you at this time.”

Chichakyan: “I just want to go back to Serena Shim. You rightly said the State Department commented on her death several weeks ago, and you say there is no update. Why is there no update? A U.S. citizen dies days after she said she’d been threatened by the Turkish intelligence.”

Rathke: “Well, I simply don’t have any information to share at this time. I’m happy to check and see if there’s anything additional. We spoke out about it, as I said, at the very start several weeks ago after her death, so I – but I don’t have anything with me right now to offer. I’m happy to check and see if there’s more that we can share.”

Of course, neither he nor any US government official has followed up. Last year, Shim’s mother, Judy Poe, replied to me in a message:

“There is no doubt in my mind that my daughter did not die in a car accident. There was not one single scratch on her there was no blood absolutely anywhere. I have tried to contact the American Embassy in Turkey with the cell phone numbers they gave me originally when I was going to get my daughter. Absolutely no response from the American Embassy in Turkey, including via personal cell phones.”

Shim’s sister in her RT interview stated, “We’ve got no support whatsoever, nor have we got condolences.”

None of the major journalist organizations have pursued a just investigation into Shim’s murder, much less lamented it. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) turns up zero results when Shim’s name is searched on their website. Yet, the CPJ does have a list of journalists killed in Turkey since 1992, and as recent as Feb 2016, obviously minus Shim’s name.

Likewise, a search on the Reporters Without Borders website turns up zero results. A December 19, 2014 article at the Greanville Post does have a CPJ spokesperson stating:

“The Committee to Protect Journalists has investigated the events surrounding Serena Shim’s death in Turkey and at this time has found no evidence to indicate that her death was anything other than a tragic accident. Unless her death is confirmed to be in direct relation to her work as a journalist, it will not appear on our database. In the event that new evidence comes to light, CPJ would review her case.”

The article Greanville Post notes, “As of February 2016, the CPJ has not changed its position.”

The International Federation of Journalists does have a short entry on Shim:

“Serena Shim, the female correspondent for Press TV in Turkey was killed in a car accident on the Turkish-Syrian border. She was returning from an assignment in Suruç, a rural district of Şanlıurfa Province of Turkey when her car collided with a truck.”

But no call for inquiry and no questioning of official narrative. In a November 21, 2014 article at Shim’s death, RT noted that, “the office of the Representative on Freedom of the Media at the OSCE told RT that Turkey is carrying out an investigation.” It cited OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Gunnar Vrang, as saying:

“The representative has been following the case since the first reports appeared about the car accident that claimed the life of journalist Serena Shim. According to information available to her office, the Turkish authorities have started investigation into the details of the car accident.”

Searching the OSCE for Serena Shim’s name also results in zero hits. On February 5, 2016, Judy Poe tweeted:


Clearly the representative went with the Turkish rendition of events. Few in corporate media have looked into Shim’s suspicious death. In one surprising exception, Fox News reported on Shim’s death, citing a US State Department spokesperson as saying the State Department “does not conduct investigations into deaths overseas.”

Given that Turkish intelligence threatened Shim, according to her testimony, and that Turkey is notorious world-wide for its imprisonment and murder of journalists, the US State Department’s lack of concern is incriminating in itself.

In stark contrast to the silence around Shim’s death, John Kerry at least twice publicly mourned the death of James Foley, lauding as a hero the journalist who snuck into Syria via Turkey to report embedded with al-Qaeda and other terrorists, and giving sincere condolences to his family.

Without a trace of irony, in August 2014, Kerry said of Foley, and never of Shim, “We honor the courage and pray for the safety of all those who risk their lives to discover the truth where it is needed most.”

In September, 2014, Kerry directly contradicted the above-mentioned words of the State Department spokesperson, saying: “When terrorists anywhere around the world have murdered our citizens, the United States held them accountable, no matter how long it took.

And those who have murdered James Foley and Steven Sotloff in Syria should know that the United States will hold them accountable too, no matter how long it takes.” On the media and political blackout around Serena Shim’s suspicious death, Shim’s former colleague, Afshin Rattansi, host of RT’s “Going Underground” posited:

“There were a few press reports, but nothing like the kind of reporting about a brave young journalist that one would expect. Was this because the story she was covering was so dangerous that a NATO ally like Turkey should be cooperating with ISIS… was that the reason that this story has not been more widely broadcast? We don’t know.”

Indeed, this would not be the first time the US administration has not pursued justice for the murder of one of its citizens by an ally. Rachie Corrie’s March 16, 2013 murder by an Israeli soldier driving a bulldozer was not only witnessed by numerous rights activists with Corrie in Rafah, occupied Palestine, but was filmed. There is no denial that the Israeli soldier saw Corrie, drove his dozer over her and then reversed back, crushing her twice.

Yet, in spite of the efforts of her family and supporters, the US has never pursued justice for this American citizen either. Judy Poe said that Serena’s favourite motto was: “I’d rather die on my feet than live on my knees.” Shim lived the motto. She was 29, with two children, when killed.

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Shaun Ramewe

~ It was already widely known two years ago that Shim was about to fully expose illegal-invading civilian-murdering resource-thieving media-lying war-criminal global-traitor coward-pervert ZioUS’A-hole’ and Turkey for sneakily abetting ISIS, Nusra, FSA and other sicko terrorist mercenary brands.

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FBI recommended Michael Flynn not have lawyer present during interview, did not warn of false statement consequences

Flynn is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 18.

Washington Examiner

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Via The Washington Examiner…


Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, who arranged the bureau’s interview with then-national security adviser Michael Flynn at the White House on Jan. 24, 2017 — the interview that ultimately led to Flynn’s guilty plea on one count of making false statements — suggested Flynn not have a lawyer present at the session, according to newly-filed court documents. In addition, FBI officials, along with the two agents who interviewed Flynn, decided specifically not to warn him that there would be penalties for making false statements because the agents wanted to ensure that Flynn was “relaxed” during the session.

The new information, drawn from McCabe’s account of events plus the FBI agents’ writeup of the interview — the so-called 302 report — is contained in a sentencing memo filed Tuesday by Flynn’s defense team.

Citing McCabe’s account, the sentencing memo says that shortly after noon on Jan. 24 — the fourth day of the new Trump administration — McCabe called Flynn on a secure phone in Flynn’s West Wing office. The two men discussed business briefly and then McCabe said that he “felt that we needed to have two of our agents sit down” with Flynn to discuss Flynn’s talks with Russian officials during the presidential transition.

McCabe, by his own account, urged Flynn to talk to the agents alone, without a lawyer present. “I explained that I thought the quickest way to get this done was to have a conversation between [Flynn] and the agents only,” McCabe wrote. “I further stated that if LTG Flynn wished to include anyone else in the meeting, like the White House counsel for instance, that I would need to involve the Department of Justice. [Flynn] stated that this would not be necessary and agreed to meet with the agents without any additional participants.”

Within two hours, the agents were in Flynn’s office. According to the 302 report quoted in the Flynn sentencing document, the agents said Flynn was “relaxed and jocular” and offered the agents “a little tour” of his part of the White House.

“The agents did not provide Gen. Flynn with a warning of the penalties for making a false statement under 18 U.S.C. 1001 before, during, or after the interview,” the Flynn memo says. According to the 302, before the interview, McCabe and other FBI officials “decided the agents would not warn Flynn that it was a crime to lie during an FBI interview because they wanted Flynn to be relaxed, and they were concerned that giving the warnings might adversely affect the rapport.”

The agents had, of course, seen transcripts of Flynn’s wiretapped conversations with Russian then-ambassador Sergey Kislyak. “Before the interview, FBI officials had also decided that if ‘Flynn said he did not remember something they knew he said, they would use the exact words Flynn used … to try to refresh his recollection. If Flynn still would not confirm what he said … they would not confront him or talk him through it,'” the Flynn memo says, citing the FBI 302.

“One of the agents reported that Gen. Flynn was ‘unguarded’ during the interview and ‘clearly saw the FBI agents as allies,'” the Flynn memo says, again citing the 302.

Later in the memo, Flynn’s lawyers argue that the FBI treated Flynn differently from two other Trump-Russia figures who have pleaded guilty to and been sentenced for making false statements. One of them, Alexander Van der Zwaan, “was represented by counsel during the interview; he was interviewed at a time when there was a publicly disclosed, full-bore investigation regarding Russian interference in the 2016 election; and he was given a warning that it is a federal crime to lie during the interview,” according to the memo. The other, George Papadopoulos, “was specifically notified of the seriousness of the investigation…was warned that lying to investigators was a ‘federal offense’…had time to reflect on his answers…and met with the FBI the following month for a further set of interviews, accompanied by his counsel, and did not correct his false statements.”

The message of the sentencing memo is clear: Flynn, his lawyers suggest, was surprised, rushed, not warned of the context or seriousness of the questioning, and discouraged from having a lawyer present.

That is all the sentencing document contains about the interview itself. In a footnote, Flynn’s lawyers noted that the government did not object to the quotations from the FBI 302 report.

In one striking detail, footnotes in the Flynn memo say the 302 report cited was dated Aug. 22, 2017 — nearly seven months after the Flynn interview. It is not clear why the report would be written so long after the interview itself.

The brief excerpts from the 302 used in the Flynn defense memo will likely spur more requests from Congress to see the original FBI documents. Both House and Senate investigating committees have demanded that the Justice Department allow them to see the Flynn 302, but have so far been refused.

In the memo, Flynn’s lawyers say that he made a “serious error in judgment” in the interview. Citing Flynn’s distinguished 30-plus year record of service in the U.S. Army, they ask the judge to go along with special counsel Robert Mueller’s recommendation that Flynn be spared any time in prison.

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Macron offers crumbs to protestors in bid to save his globalist agenda (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 36.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a quick look at French President Macron’s pathetic display of leadership as he offers protestors little in the way of concessions while at the same time promising to crack down hard on any and all citizens who resort to violence.

Meanwhile France’s economy is set for a deep recession as French output and production grinds to a halt.

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Via Zerohedge


As if Brussels didn’t have its hands full already with Italy and the UK, the European Union will soon be forced to rationalize why one of its favorite core members is allowed to pursue populist measures to blow out its budget deficit to ease domestic unrest while another is threatened with fines potentially amounting to billions of euros.

When blaming Russia failed to quell the widespread anger elicited by his policies, French President Emmanuel Macron tried to appease the increasingly violent “yellow vests” protesters who have sacked his capital city by offering massive tax cuts that could blow the French budget out beyond the 3% budget threshold outlined in the bloc’s fiscal rules.

Given the concessions recently offered by Italy’s populists, Macron’s couldn’t have picked a worse time to challenge the bloc’s fiscal conventions. As Bloomberg pointed out, these rules will almost certainly set the Continent’s second largest economy on a collision course with Brussels. To be clear, Macron’s offered cuts come with a price tag of about €11 billion according to Les Echos, and will leave the country with a budget gap of 3.5% of GDP in 2019, with one government official said the deficit may be higher than 3.6%.

By comparison, Italy’s initial projections put its deficit target at 2.4%, a number which Europe has repeatedly refused to consider.

Macron’s promises of fiscal stimulus – which come on top of his government’s decision to delay the planned gas-tax hikes that helped inspire the protests – were part of a broader ‘mea culpa’ offered by Macron in a speech Monday night, where he also planned to hike France’s minimum wage.

Of course, when Brussels inevitably objects, perhaps Macron could just show them this video of French police tossing a wheelchair-bound protester to the ground.

Already, the Italians are complaining.  Speaking on Tuesday, Italian cabinet undersecretary Giancarlo Giorgetti said Italy hasn’t breached the EU deficit limit. “I repeat that from the Italian government there is a reasonable approach, if there is one also from the EU a solution will be found.”

“France has several times breached the 3% deficit. Italy hasn’t done it. They are different situations. There are many indicators to assess.”

Still, as one Guardian columnist pointed out in an op-ed published Tuesday morning, the fact that the gilets jaunes (yellow vest) organizers managed to pressure Macron to cave and grant concessions after just 4 weeks of protests will only embolden them to push for even more radical demands: The collapse of the government of the supremely unpopular Macron.

Then again, with Brussels now facing certain accusations of hypocrisy, the fact that Macron was pressured into the exact same populist measures for which Italy has been slammed, the French fiasco raises the odds that Rome can pass any deficit measure it wants with the EU now forced to quietly look away even as it jawbones all the way from the bank (i.e., the German taxpayers).

“Macron’s spending will encourage Salvini and Di Maio,” said Giovanni Orsina, head of the School of Government at Rome’s Luiss-Guido Carli University. “Macron was supposed to be the spearhead of pro-European forces, if he himself is forced to challenge EU rules, Salvini and Di Maio will jump on that to push their contention that those rules are wrong.”

While we look forward to how Brussels will square this circle, markets are less excited.

Exhausted from lurching from one extreme to another following conflicting headlines, traders are already asking if “France is the new Italy.” The reason: the French OAT curve has bear steepened this morning with 10Y yields rising as much as ~6bp, with the Bund/OAT spread reaching the widest since May 2017 and the French presidential election. Though well below the peaks of last year, further widening would push the gap into levels reserved for heightened political risk.

As Bloomberg macro analyst Michael Read notes this morning, it’s hard to see a specific near-term trigger blowing out the Bund/OAT spread but the trend looks likely to slowly drift higher.

While Macron has to fight on both domestic and European fronts, he’ll need to keep peace at home to stay on top. Remember that we saw the 10Y spread widen to ~80bps around the May ’17 elections as concerns of a move toward the political fringe played out in the markets, and the French President’s popularity ratings already look far from rosy.

And just like that France may have solved the Italian crisis.

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Watch: Democrat Chuck Schumer shows his East Coast elitism on live TV

Amazing moment in which the President exhibits “transparency in government” and shows the world who the Democrat leaders really are.

Seraphim Hanisch

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One of the reasons Donald Trump was elected to the Presidency was because of his pugnacious, “in your face” character he presented – and promised TO present – against Democrat policy decisions and “stupid government” in general.

One of the reasons President Donald Trump is reviled is because of his pugnacious, “in your face” character he presented – and promised TO present – in the American political scene.

In other words, there are two reactions to the same characteristic. On Tuesday, the President did something that probably cheered and delighted a great many Americans who witnessed this.

The Democrats have been unanimous in taking any chance to roast the President, or to call for his impeachment, or to incite violence against him. But Tuesday was President Trump’s turn. He invited the two Democrat leaders, presumptive incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and then, he turned the cameras on:

As Tucker Carlson notes, the body language from Schumer was fury. The old (something)-eating grin covered up humiliation, embarrassment and probably no small amount of fear, as this whole incident was filmed and broadcast openly and transparently to the American public. Nancy Pelosi was similarly agitated, and she expressed it later after this humiliation on camera, saying, “It’s like a manhood thing for him… As if manhood could ever be associated with him.”

She didn’t stop there. According to a report from the New York Daily News, the Queen Bee took the rhetoric a step below even her sense of dignity:

Pelosi stressed she made clear to Trump there isn’t enough support in Congress for a wall and speculated the President is refusing to back down because he’s scared to run away with his tail between his legs.

“I was trying to be the mom. I can’t explain it to you. It was so wild,” Pelosi said of the Oval Office meet, which was also attended by Vice President Pence and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). “It goes to show you: you get into a tinkle contest with a skunk, you get tinkle all over you.”

This represented the first salvo in a major spin-job for the ultra-liberal San Francisco Democrat. The rhetoric spun by Mrs. Pelosi and Chuck Schumer was desperate as they tried to deflect their humiliation and place it back on the President:

With reporters still present, Trump boasted during the Oval meeting he would be “proud” to shutdown the government if Congress doesn’t earmark cash for his wall before a Dec. 21 spending deadline.

Pelosi told Democrats that Trump’s boisterousness will be beneficial for them.

“The fact is we did get him to say, to fully own that the shutdown was his,” Pelosi said. “That was an accomplishment.”

The press tried to characterize this as a “Trump Tantrum”, saying things like this lede:

While “discussing” a budgetary agreement for the government, President Donald Trump crossed his arms and declared: “we will shut down the government if there is no wall.”

While the Democrats and the mainstream media in the US are sure to largely buy these interpretations of the event, the fact that this matter was televised live shows that the matter was entirely different, and this will be discomfiting to all but those Democrats and Trump-dislikers that will not look at reality.

There appears to be a twofold accomplishment for the President in this confrontation:

  1. The President revealed to his support base the real nature of the conversation with the Democrat leadership, because anyone watching this broadcast (and later, video clip) saw it unedited with their own eyes. They witnessed the pettiness of both Democrats and they witnessed a President completely comfortable and confident about the situation.
  2. President Trump probably made many of his supporters cheer with the commitment to shut down the government if he doesn’t get his border wall funding. This cheering is for both the strength shown about getting the wall finished and the promise to shut the government down, and further, Mr. Trump’s assertion that he would be “proud” to shut the government down, taking complete ownership willingly, reflects a sentiment that many of his supporters share.

The usual pattern is for the media, Democrats and even some Republicans to create a “scare” narrative about government shutdowns, about how doing this is a sure-fire path to chaos and suffering for the United States.

But the educated understanding of how shutdowns work reveals something completely different. Vital services never close. However, National Parks can close partly or completely, and some non-essential government agencies are shuttered. While this is an inconvenience for the employees furloughed during the shutdown, they eventually are re-compensated for the time lost, and are likely to receive help during the shutdown period if they need it. The impact on the nation is minimal, aside from the fact that the government stops spending money at the same frenetic pace as usual.

President Trump’s expression of willingness to do this action and his singling out of the Dem leadership gives the Democrats a real problem. Now the entire country sees their nature. As President Trump is a populist, this visceral display of Democrat opposition and pettiness will make at least some impact on the population, even that group of people who are not Trump fans.

The media reaction and that of the Democrats here show, amazingly, that after three years-plus of Donald Trump being a thorn in their side, they still do not understand how he works, and they also cannot match it against their expected “norms” of establishment behavior.

This may be a brilliant masterstroke, and it also may be followed up by more. The President relishes head-to-head conflict. The reactions of these congress members showed who they really are.

Let the games begin.

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