Tag Archive: Freesom of the Press

Jan 14 2015

Terror Attacks: Rogue Actions or Global Conspiracy

The Paris Mystery: Were the Shooters Part of a Global Terrorist Conspiracy?

By Jeremy Scahill, The Intercept

n the days since the siege at the Paris magazine Charlie Hebdo, the press and social media sites have been consumed with the possible answers to one question: Beyond the two shooters, Said and Cherif Kouachi, who is responsible for the attack that killed 12 people at the magazine’s offices?

On Friday, shortly after the gunmen were killed by French forces in a raid on a printing plant outside of Paris, a source from within al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) provided The Intercept with a series of messages and statements taking responsibility for the attacks, asserting that AQAP’s leadership “directed” the raid on the magazine to avenge the honor of the Prophet Mohammed.

Moments after The Intercept published these statements, an AQAP official, Bakhsaruf al-Danqaluh tweeted, in Arabic, the exact paragraphs the AQAP source provided us. Within an hour of that, AQAP’s senior cleric, Sheikh Harith bin Ghazi al-Nadhari, released an audio statement through AQAP’s official media wing, praising the attack. “Some of the sons of France showed a lack of manners with Allah’s messengers, so a band of Allah’s believing army rose against them, and they taught them the proper manners, and the limits of freedom of speech,” Nadhari declared. “How can we not fight the ones that attacked the Prophet and attacked the religion and fought the believers?” While heaping passionate praise on the attack on Charlie Hebdo, Nadhari stopped short of making any claim that AQAP directed or was in any way involved with the planning.

Historically, when AQAP has taken credit for attacks, it has used al Qaeda central’s al-Fajr Media to distribute statements and video or audio recordings through the AQAP media outlet al-Malahim to a variety of jihadist forums. But over the past year, AQAP has broadened its distribution strategy and has begun using Twitter and other social media sites. While AQAP continues to use al-Malahim, “the vast majority if not all of the releases are now released onto Twitter first via authenticated Twitter accounts that have become the first point of release,” says Aaron Zelin, an expert on al Qaeda and other militant groups and a senior fellow at the Washington Institute. “This has been the case ever since late July 2014, though AQAP had been making a slow transition going all the way back to early 2014.” Zelin’s analysis of this new distribution strategy tracks with how AQAP sources began to assert responsibility for the Paris attacks last week, with the one caveat being that an AQAP source provided the tweets in advance to a media outlet, The Intercept.

In the past, AQAP publicly took responsibility through its official media and communication channels. None of that has happened yet in the case of the Kouachi brothers’ Paris attack. [..]

In analyzing AQAP’s potential role in the Paris attack, it’s worth remembering the four-month delay between the group praising the 2009 underwear plot and the group releasing evidence it actually orchestrated the act. Short of such video or photographic documentation, and even with an official statement from AQAP’s leadership, it would be difficult to prove that AQAP indeed sponsored the raid on Charlie Hebdo.

Scahill, the co-founder of The Intercept, spoke with Democracy Now!‘s Amy Goodman about these claims

Transcript can be read here

Jan 10 2015

Charlie Hebdo in 2006

From the New York Times Op-Docs.

‘Charlie Hebdo, Before the Massacre’

By Jérôme Lambert and Philippe Picard

In February 2006 the editors of the French magazine Charlie Hebdo met to discuss a matter of what turned out to be deadly consequence: Would they publish a satirical image of Muhammad on their cover? We were making a documentary about Jean Cabut, known as Cabu, one of the most famous cartoonists in France. So we were there, filming his conversation with his colleagues as they chose the cover. The issue that came out of this meeting – with a Cabu cartoon on the cover and the images they discussed here – turned out to be one of the most popular in the magazine’s history. Almost nine years later, gunmen stormed this very meeting and killed 10 editors and cartoonists, including three of the people in this film: Cabu, Bernard Verlhac (known as Tignous) and Georges Wolinski.

Lire en français

Jan 07 2015

Nous Sommes Charlie Hebdo

This morning’s attack on the satirical magazine “Charlie Hebdo in Paris, France that killed ten journalists and two police officers was an attack on freedom of the press and free speech everywhere.

So from today, we are “Charlie Hebdo.”

Sep 20 2013

Defining Journalism and Who Is a Journalist

First Amendment to the United States Constitution

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances

Bill to protect journalists clears Senate panel

by David G. Savage, The Los Angeles Times

The Senate Judiciary Committee approves a media shield bill to keep ‘real reporters’ from having to testify on their work.

Journalists and bloggers who report news to the public will be protected from being forced to testify about their work under a media shield bill passed by a Senate committee Thursday.

But the new legal protections will not extend to the controversial online website Wikileaks and others whose principal work involves disclosing “primary-source documents … without authorization.”

Senate sponsors of the bill and a coalition of media groups that support it hailed Thursday’s bipartisan Senate Judiciary Committee vote as a breakthrough. [..]

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) insisted on limiting the legal protection to “real reporters” and not, she said, a 17-year-old with his own website. [..]

Feinstein introduced an amendment that defines a “covered journalist” as someone who gathers and reports news for “an entity or service that disseminates news and information.” The definition includes freelancers, part-timers and student journalists, and it permits a judge to go further and extend the protections to any “legitimate news-gathering activities.

But the bill also makes it clear that the legal protection is not absolute. Federal officials still may “compel disclosure” from a journalist who has information that could stop or prevent crimes such as murder, kidnapping or child abduction or prevent “acts of terrorism” or significant harm to national security.

At Esquire’s Political Blog, Charles Pierce argues that if we accept a shield law then we must accept who that law protects thus giving government the power to define who is a journalist. We have a shield law for the press, it’s called the First Amendment and whether Dianne Feinstein likes it or not, we bloggers are journalists and protected.

Jesus H. Christ on a 4000-euro claimer, I leave the country for a week and Dianne Fking Feinstein gets to redefine my profession?

Hey, Dianne, here’s the thing on that First Amendment business. I get to define what you do for a living. And if I decide to define what you do for a living is to be a mewling apologist for the national-security community and a lapdog for the surveillance state, I get to do that, and I get to do it in a newspaper, or video, or on-line, or on a pamphlet stapled to a telephone pole outside your door, if I so choose. You get to sit there, collect your government salary, raise money from plutocrats, and shut…the…hell…up.

Which part of “Congress shall make no law…” do you not understand? [..]

It has been argued — and, occasionally, by me — that the worst thing that ever happened to journalism was that it became the professionalized province of the educated. [..]

There are far too many people right now in Washington who are far too comfortable in being a de facto part of the country’s power structure. Their profession is not mine. Let me be quite clear. If you accept the Congress’s right to define what a journalist is, you are a miserable traitor to the profession you presume to practice. You have, quite simply, become something less worthy than an informer, something lower than a jailhouse snitch. I’ll leave it to my man Chuck Todd to take the king’s shilling. Me? I’ll stand with the 17-year old and his own website, and, with all the faith I ever have had in my constitutional right to do so, we both will tell Dianne Feinstein to fk off, thank you. Stuff your privilege. I have my rights.

Thanks Charlie and f**k you, Dianne.

(All emphasis in aerticle is mine)