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The Media Must Not Cover Up for War Crimes Suspects

first_imgA Few weeks ago, I was doing research online and came across a news story published February 25, by the Inquirer Newspaper titled, “Residents Deny ‘Massacre’ Claim.” The story is related to charges of war crimes against one Martina Johnson, a well-known former NPFL rebel commander who was arrested last year by Belgium authorities and placed in custody regarding whatever roles she must have played in several massacres inside Mr. Taylor’s rebel territories, particularly, during the deadly “Octopus” war (she reportedly oversaw). Prior to reading the Inquirer story, I had read a similar story written by Mr. Nvasekie Konneh entitled, “Alieu Kosiah is a Victim of the Liberian Civil War.” Alieu Kosiah is an ex-ULIMO-K rebel commander whose story of violence against civilians stands out during the ULIMO-NPFL-LDF wars in Lofa and like Martina, Alieu Kosiah was arrested and subsequently imprisoned last year in Switzerland due to his roles in alleged “Tortures and killings” after he was identified by some of his victims. His detention has been extended to three more months by a judge before his trial can begin. Kosiah’s alleged victims who gave a tipoff that led to his arrest are expected to be represented by Civitas Maxima of Liberia and its Swiss branch, Global Research and Justice Project (GRJP). The Inquirer story was based on what it calls, “Fact-finding mission” by a “Team of international and local journalists” that allegedly toured “Dry Rice Market and Johnsonville” communities and spoke to residents regarding a wartime “massacres” in the areas and Martina’s possible connection to any. The Inquirer however failed to state what exactly prompted a fact-finding in the Martina case because, other Liberian ex-warlords and rebel commanders arrested previously by the ICC on similar war crimes charges, like former Pres. Taylor, his son, Chuckie Taylor, Tom weoiwiyou and Alieu Kosiah, never enjoyed such privileges of background investigations in their behalf by local reporters, let alone a group of local and foreign “Journalists” as reported by the paper. Of a group of “journalists” who allegedly formed part of the “Fact-finding” tour in the referenced communities, it is interesting to note that only The Inquirer so far has released a story though seemingly skewed in a way to serve a particular interest. Who the rest of the journalists are, and when they will publish their own findings are things not clear. And why The Inquirer took special interest in the Martina Johnson’s case is also something worth for the general public to know since this is untraditional. In any case both stories’ headings appeared conclusive, particularly the Kosiah story with no quotation or question marks, as usual considering the gravity of the crimes involved in both cases. Except that one was written presumably by an independent daily, and the other by a freelance writer who holds tribal affiliation to one of the war crimes suspects, the objective for both stories are clear in the story contents-they set out to defend the two former hardcore rebel commanders against “War crimes” for which the two have been separately indicted and are awaiting trials. And just by coincident, the Inquirer-Konneh stories also exhibit striking similarities in many forms. On separate notes, the two vehemently denied the accused, Martina and Kosiah, were ever involved in committing egregious crimes against civilians during the war as alleged. Indeed, the Inquirer story and that of Mr. Konneh’s went to extra length to portray the two diehard-rebel militias as “innocent” bystanders and “victims” of the brutal African war that killed an estimated 250,000 people. This is all happening when in fact, no trial has begun and although both accused may have initially denied every charge brought against them, it is universally the normal thing all war crimes suspects do. Charles Taylor denied “Everything” and likewise, Chuckie Taylor, and Kosiah. Even former Chadian leader Hissene Habre, indicted by Belgium courts on similar crimes, according to reports, “Is still denying.” Though either story failed to give accounts on the war activities of Martina and Kosiah, all agreed the two served as ‘commanders’ for the rebel National Patriotic Front (NPFL) of former Liberian President Charles Taylor, and Prof. Alhaji Kromah’s ULIMO-K rebel factions. Taylor is presently serving a 50 year sentence due to war crimes he reportedly committed in neighboring Sierra Leone during the 90s. However, it is not the Kosiah story this piece is about. What prompted this article is that unconventional “journalistic style” that The Inquirer adopted in treating an important matter that hold not just local but deep international interest as well. It ignored all journalistic ethical rules and published story ostensibly embedded in pure deception. The paper did so cleverly, making it to appear the story was based on feedbacks gathered from residents of two townships. Notwithstanding, it was no different from a case where someone would describe this way: “Rabbit thought it was hiding, not knowing its tail was still exposed.” In other words, the Inquirer editorial compromised its so-called “Fact-finding” report in attempt to cover up for war crimes suspect, Martina Johnson. For example, the paper’s story, among many others things failed to even draw a connection between the Taylor-led NPFL that recruited and armed Martina Johnson along with thousands of Liberian youths to fight. Mind you, the suspect Martina Johnson, fought for the NPFL, the faction known to have systematically targeted and murdered thousands civilians, mainly Mandingo and Krahn, on the basis of their ethnic affiliations. These are basic facts no news organ writing about such high-profiled case will ever ignore, unless the primary goals for that organ isn’t about protecting and serving the public interest. For the referenced Inquirer report, one doesn’t really have to be a savvy editor or reporter in order to detect that something is wrong, that the story was indeed compromised. Any literate individual can easily tell this just by basically examining the paper’s story contents, version of the “Fact-finding mission.” Let’s go over a few paragraphs in the referenced Inquirer story so as to attempt to find out whether or not the Inquirer editorial followed the rules or did in all fairness apply “Objectivity” in in the referenced report as required in the journalism profession. In its opening paragraphs, the following is what Liberia’s Inquirer, once considered, a credible source by international news agencies during wartime, wrote: “Some residents of the Dry Rice Market and Johnsonville communities have clarified that there was no incident of massacres in both communities during the Liberian civil conflict. The residents further clarified that no act of massacre was committed by a former SSS Officer who later became the head of the Roberts International Airport (RIA) Madam Martina Johnson as has been alleged. Members of the communities said both communities were considered free zones during the heat of the civil conflict something that contradicts allegation by Global Research and Justice Project.” As indicated earlier, the paper stated the information was gathered last January when a group of “Journalists” visited the areas during which the reporters conducted interviews with “Over 70 elders and youths” concerning reports that “Massacres occurred” in those vicinities. The Inquirer story said, citizens denied such allegations. However, what seems unforgivable is when the paper alleges without quotes that “residents” in both townships described the GRJP’s report as “misleading and intended to destroy Madam Johnson” and demanded they “want all charges against Martina Johnson dropped.” “Meanwhile, residents of Dry Rice Market and Johnsonville communities want all charges against Martina Johnson dropped adding that the allegation by Global Research and Justice Project is intended to solicit international support and attention from the international community. Residents in that area also stated that the information provided by Global Research and Justice Project is misleading and intended to destroy Madam Johnson.” But those are not all; perhaps, the most revealing and damaging to this questionable report that seems to lend credence to suspicion that the Inquirer “report” may have been heavily influenced by a special favor, including money, due to the following line in its story: “Currently residents of the various communities are benefiting from the humanitarian gesture under aegis of Madam Martina Johnson the former RIA boss, one of the leaders of the community disclosed.” It is inconceivable that a paper of this caliber as The Inquirer will attempt to rob the public of its right to know the truth in an allegation that involves genocide by failing to provide an accurate picture surrounding a so-called “Fact-finding” tour of which other participating “journalists” are yet to publish their own accounts. From reading the above sections of the Inquirer story, isn’t it rather ironic that a “Fact-finding mission,” with the sole purpose to thoroughly investigate and verify gruesome mass murders, could now suddenly turn into a praise and worship band by the usage of unnecessary and flattering praises as per this remark, Currently residents of the various communities are benefiting from the humanitarian gesture under aegis of Madam Martina Johnson the former RIA boss? And see, the paper even referred to the suspects multiple times as “Madam” in its well-polished story. Can a newspaper claiming “Independent” actually afford to condone such practice by also joining a chorus of praise singers in such high-profiled critical matters? In the first place, it is outrageously awful that the Inquirer editorial would choose to use phrases as: “Residents have clarified” that Martina Johnson didn’t commit “Act of massacre” in the two communities, as if the alleged mass murder incidents are more like the everyday corrupt practices Liberians have come to be accustomed to, like the discussion is about some stolen goods. At least, that’s how simple the paper made it looked when in fact the entire episode is about genocide in one of Africa’s bloodiest civil wars, heavily fuelled by strong anti-tribal sentiments, and often the victims were vulnerable women, children and elderly, some often raped before they were viciously beheaded by drugged rebels. It isn’t a honeymoon story-this involves peoples’ loved ones-just like us, the living and that’s why it sounds bizarre that the Inquirer’s editorial team will think such a case can be closed with a mere “Clarification” and after that everyone walks away. Another section of the Inquirer’s story that raises eyebrows is the claim that “Over 70 elders and youths” were interviewed by “Journalists” regarding the suspect’s role during the “Fact-finding” but failed to identify a single interviewee, for the sake of its own credibility. Also, the story had no byline which adds to a long list of questions as to the sincerity of the report. Even twenty is too big of a number let alone, “Over 70” that an “Independent” newspaper will not cite a single name in a crucial story especially when the war crimes suspect is being highly “Hailed” by all and not even a single person gave contradictory view of her. With this apparent level of eagerness by “Residents” of the areas to tell the “Good deeds” Martina, it is however shocking that no one appeared bold to speak on record. But few of the troubling questions in this case are: Who, and where exactly, are some of the residents that were allegedly interviewed by local and foreign reporters? How credible are they? And how can they prove they lived in the referenced communities during the first phrase of the civil wars? For the sake of trustworthiness, I would have provided names and also group picture of interviewees and I think the paper should do so without delay in the public interest. For what is the reason for one to hide when he thinks highly of neighbor that presumably holds a clear record and gives to the community? I hope the paper editorial is aware of the serious credibility questions its publication raises. Perhaps, it may recover by releasing names, photographs, or phone numbers, addresses of the interviewees with consent for verification since it seems the rest of “Journalists” on the trip disappeared. It claimed further that residents described Barnersville Township as “Free zone,” meaning, the area was a safe heaven that was untouchable in the wartime. By now, it is no surprise that The Inquirer of today will take such assessment from someone without a second thought to verify such claim before publishing. Of course, this type of act will be little any paper when after all, almost everyone who rode out the wars in Liberia, not to mention journalists, knows that not even an inch of Liberia was deemed safe, or left untouched. Except the ECOMOG-IGNU’s controlled territory of Monrovia, no part of the capital including, suburbs were safe. For if there existed a so-called “Free Zone,” why then did the soldiers over 600 slaughter Gio and Mano civilians, who were forced by circumstances to stay at the Sinkor Lutheran Church where they perished? The Inquirer story repeatedly cited a place it called, “Dry Rice Market.” What is it exactly? It is a tiny Flea like-market, about the size of a football field and located inside Barnersville Estate in Monrovia’s northwest suburb. It isn’t itself a “town” as inanely portrayed by the paper. The portrayal however is typical of the way some local reporters communicate, write stories, with only Liberian audiences in mind. The market is probably less than a mile from the last bus stop before entering the estate. The same place (near the last bus stop) the Inquirer report now says residents claimed to be a “Free zone” is where the charred remains of a small vehicle used by two of the five murdered American nuns were found in 1992 during NPFL’s multipronged attack on the capital. How do I know? I was among a team of local reporters taken on a tour of the Barnersville area by former press secretary at the Ministry of National Defense, Col. Arthur B. Dennis, now a resident of New Jersey, just days after the combined forces of ECOMOG peacekeeping troops, the Sawyer-IGNU’s led Black Berets, assisted by Mr. Alhaji Kromah’s ULIMO movement ejected Taylor’s men from the area. I was able to photograph the charred remains of the car owned by the murdered American nuns, films editors at The Associated Press would take interest in when I began to work for the agency as stringer photographer. The story goes that two of the nuns, Muttra and Joel Kolmer left their Barnersville Convent on October 20, 1992 to drop off a security guard and were murdered moments later by Taylor’s rebels when they encountered them. Years after the murder of the nuns, an investigations compiled by US FBI agents blamed the NPFL that controlled the area. The FBI’s probe was based on countless testimonies given by mostly eyewitnesses, including NPFL kidnapped survivors, the Catholic Archdiocese, US Embassy, ECOMOG soldiers and residents who saw the killings. Perhaps the most difficult aspect of this work has been who to pinpoint among the “killer commanders” for the deaths of the nuns. While some suspect Martina, others blame one Christopher Vambo, who goes by the nom-de-guerre General Mosquito. Read: Is This Man Responsible for the Murder of the 5 American Nuns?Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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Who will replace injured Yaya Toure? Predicted Man City XI for Real Madrid clash

first_img 11 20. Eliaquim Mangala (centre back) 21. David Silva (left forward) 11 11 11 1. Joe Hart (goalkeeper) – Click the arrow, right, to see the full City predicted XI in squad number order 25. Fernandinho (centre midfield) 11 Manchester City welcome ten-time Champions League winners Real Madrid to the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday night in what is one of the biggest games in the club’s history.The likes of Cristiano Ronaldo – who already has 16 goals in this season’s competition – and Gareth Bale will be looking to emulate their 2014 effort when they last lifted the trophy.The clubs have only played twice in their history – back in the 2012/13 season when they were drawn in the same group.City managed a 1-1 draw at home that time around before falling 3-2 after a 90th minute winner from Ronaldo.But if City can keep the Portuguese quiet this time around, they will fancy their chances of picking up a positive result.Yaya Toure is out of the first leg with a thigh injury, but has been given an outside chance of making the return leg at the Bernabeu by manager Manuel Pellegrini.In more positive news for City fans, Vincent Kompany insisted he is 100 per cent fit despite only playing 20 times this season after repeated calf injuries.Click the arrow above, right, to see the predicted City XI to face Los Blancos. 10. Sergio Aguero (centre forward) 11 11. Aleksandar Kolarov (left back) 11 15. Jesus Navas (right wing) 11 17. Kevin De Bruyne (attacking midfield) 11 11 11 6. Fernando (centre midfield) 4. Vincent Kompany (centre back) 5. Pablo Zabaleta (right back) last_img read more

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Rice crop faces further setback

first_imgRice crop faces further setbackAus and Aman rice crops, as well as vegetables, have suffered a severe blow like the Boro crop in the recent floods in 40 districts of the country.The Boro rice crop was affected by the floods only in the haor regions whereas the recent floods inundated 652,654 hectares of Aus and Aman croplands in the 40 districts, revealed agovernment estimation.The agricultural extension department (DAE) expected that rice production from each hectare of land will be around 3.5 tonnes. According to that estimation, the production of rice was expected to be at least 2.3 million tonnes from the land that went under water.The rice production may fall by as much as one million tonnes if half of the expected amount of production is destroyed due to the floods this season.An estimate of the agricultural affairs ministry revealed that the production of rice in the Boro season fell by one million tonnes in the haor regions.Contrary to this estimate, the food ministry says the production diminished by two million tonnes whereas the rice mill owners claimed that the production shortage was four million tonnes.Agricultural ministry secretary, Mohammad Moinuddin Abdullah, said to Prothom Alo, “We are making a list of affected farmers. We shall provide them with seeds and other agricultural equipment as soon as the floodwater recedes.”“We have already prepared a list of 600,000 affected farmers of the haor regions. They will receive agricultural rehabilitation assistance very soon,” he hoped.According to economists, the country will suffer from a serious shortage of rice this year. The government has already signed memorandum of understanding (MoU) and rice import agreements with four countries to tackle the situation. But the amount of rice imported so far is inadequate.According to food ministry’s daily food grain situation report, prepared on Monday, the government has imported 46,000 tonnes of rice while private entrepreneurs have imported 262,000 tonnes from July till now.The report also said the stock of rice in the government warehouses at present is 295,000 tonnes. The stock was about 700,000 tonnes in the same period last year.Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS) researcher M Asaduzzamn told Prothom Alo that the production of Boro and Aman rice could be 10 per cent less [than the previous year].“As a result the price hike might put poor people’s food security at risk. This is why the government should buy imported rice from the businessmen and increase the stock on an emergency basis.”*The article originally published in Prothom Alo print edition is rewritten in English by Shameem Rezalast_img read more

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IMDb Scraps Freedive Name Will Triple IMDb TV Free Streaming Lineup With

first_img Popular on Variety ×Actors Reveal Their Favorite Disney PrincessesSeveral actors, like Daisy Ridley, Awkwafina, Jeff Goldblum and Gina Rodriguez, reveal their favorite Disney princesses. Rapunzel, Mulan, Ariel,Tiana, Sleeping Beauty and Jasmine all got some love from the Disney stars.More VideosVolume 0%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard Shortcutsplay/pauseincrease volumedecrease volumeseek forwardsseek backwardstoggle captionstoggle fullscreenmute/unmuteseek to %SPACE↑↓→←cfm0-9Next UpJennifer Lopez Shares How She Became a Mogul04:350.5x1x1.25×1.5x2xLive00:0002:1502:15 Streamers, Asians, V/R, Boost Industry Attendance As Venice Market Kicks Off Kristen Stewart on ‘Seberg’: ‘It’s Not Hard for Me to Wear My Politics’ Amazon’s IMDb is upping the ante in the free, ad-supported premium video game.IMDb has dumped Freedive as the name for the service it launched in January — rebranding it as “IMDb TV” (somewhat confusingly, as it includes movies as well).Over the next few months, IMDb will add “thousands” of new titles to IMDb TV, which it claims will triple the number of movies and TV shows available to watch for free for users in the U.S. (A rep declined to provide more specific figures.) In addition, the company says it plans to launch IMDb TV in Europe later this year.IMDb’s expanded ad-supported VOD lineup comes through new deals with studios including Warner Bros., Sony Pictures Entertainment and MGM. New titles to become available July 1 on IMDb TV include Lionsgate’s “La La Land,” the Oscar-winning musical starring Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling — the first time it will become available on an ad-supported streaming service. Others slated to join the service next month include “Sense and Sensibility” (1995) starring Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet, “Draft Day” starring Kevin Costner, and “A Knight’s Tale” with Heath Ledger. “Captain Fantastic,” the 2016 dramedy starring Viggo Mortensen, is available now on IMDb TV.According to Amazon, IMDb TV runs half the ads of typical network TV broadcasts. IMDb is tripling down in the burgeoning AVOD space as it squares off against competitors including Tubi, the Roku Channel, Crackle, Viacom’s Pluto TV, and Walmart’s Vudu.Here’s the logo for IMDb TV, which has replaced Freedive as the brand name across IMDb properties:Content on IMDb TV spans multiple genres, including comedy, kids and family, romance, thrillers, sci-fi, documentaries, and horror.According to the company, popular television shows on IMDb TV include “Fringe,” “Duck Dynasty” and “The Bachelor.” Movies available free to stream include “Drive,” “Donnie Darko,” “Monster” and Kevin Costner’s “Dances With Wolves.”IMDb TV is currently available only in the U.S. It’s accessible on the IMDb website and as a free channel in Amazon’s Prime Video app across hundreds of devices. That includes Amazon’s own Fire TV streaming-media products, which the tech giant claims has over 34 million active users worldwide. IMDb TV streaming titles currently are not available on IMDb’s iOS and Android apps.“IMDb TV brings some of the best free content into the living room,” Marc Whitten, VP of Amazon’s Fire TV, said in a statement. “We’re excited that our U.S. customers now have access to even more free TV shows and movies through the app and that customers in Europe can soon enjoy this great service on the biggest screen in their home.” Relatedlast_img read more

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Webcams Gone Creative

first_img In an effort to be more accessible, more transparent and more “in your face,” entrepreneurs are looking to live webcams to broadcast their business. Check out how these four companies are leveraging the power of streaming footage–and learn how you can, too.Beachwood BBQThe idea: Live snapshots in 15-minute intervals of the restaurant’s beer menusWithin a year of opening in 2006, Beachwood BBQ in Seal Beach, Calif., had upped its beer list significantly. But it became quite a chore for co-founders Gabriel Gordon, 31, and Lena Perelman, 32, to update the list online. The website often went untouched for weeks, Gordon says, which was bad for customers who arrived expecting a specific beer on tap.The byproduct: There are certainly no more disappointed customers, Gordon says. And in addition to increasing page hits, it’s helped boost the restaurant’s sales, too, from $635,000 in 2007 to about $1.4 million last year.The unexpected: Gordon says, “There are people on the East Coast who’ve written saying they check [the Hopcam] every day.”Lisa P. MaxwellThe idea: Live feeds (with chat capabilities) on the company’s 32 employeesAndrew Miller, 42, knew Lisa P. Maxwell’s website needed reviving to fit the Chicago creative marketing agency’s buzzworthy style. Miller says, “The sense of transparency and open honesty really appealed to me.”The byproduct: In the first month after the application went live last fall, there were about six blog posts about it daily, Miller says. The 7-year-old company works to get buzz for its clients, so it’s more convincing “to a client when we can say we’ve also done it for ourselves.”The unexpected: Miller says the innovation did present some issues, including inappropriate messages and personal chat.Sugar Hooker EntertainmentThe idea: Live, weekly TV shows onlineWhen Jerra Spence, 29, launched Sugar Hooker Entertainment in 2004, it quickly transformed into a fully integrated, multiplatform lifestyle brand for teenage girls. She says, “Instead of it being all about commerce, it ended up being all about community.” And that’s where the weekly girl culture variety show came in. Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global March 12, 2009 40%of SMBs Plan to Add Customer reviews to their websites this year; 26% plan to incorporate video.(Source: The Kelsey Group)The byproduct: Since launching SHE TV through Stickam.com in October, the site has attracted more than 37,000 weekly viewers. “It’s grown my e-commerce sales significantly,” Spence says–to nearly $2 million last year.The unexpected: With the success of the variety show spawning others, she says, “I think it’s going to end up being an almost 24-hour entertainment channel.”DogtopiaThe idea: Real-time footage of dog day-care franchise facilitiesEver since Amy Nichols, 35, opened her first Dogtopia center in 2002, she wanted customers to be able to easily check on their pooches. “When I had to kennel my dog, I felt really guilty,” she says. So through OnlineDoggy.com, a provider of pet-care webcam systems, Nichols launched the webcam feature in 2005.The byproduct: “Customers love it, and it’s a big selling point,” Nichols says. While the system can be expensive upfront, “it only takes one [happy] customer for the franchisee to realize the value.”The unexpected: The live webcams double as security cameras and training tools. 3 min readcenter_img Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. This story appears in the April 2009 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe » Register Now »last_img read more

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Inventor of Email Ray Tomlinson Dies at 74

first_img This story originally appeared on Fortune Magazine Ray Tomlinson, the man credited with founding email, has passed away at the age of 74, according to a report from the Sydney Morning Herald. According to the report, Tomlinson died of a heart attack.Tomlinson was a part a team of computer programmers at research and design company Bolt Beranek and Newman (now BBN Technologies) in Cambridge, Mass., and had begun experimenting with internal messaging in 1971. Tomlinson had an idea to send a text message between computers using a new network (and a predeccesor to the Internet) called Arpanet, routing it using an “@” symbol.He recalled the first email sent in an interview with NPR from 2009: “The keyboards were about 10 feet apart … I could wheel my chair from one to the other and type a message on one, and then go to the other, and then see what I had tried to send.”By the 1980s government and military personnel were actively using the system. And by the 1990s email had become one of two pillars of the budding consumer Internet, alongside the World Wide Web.Tomlinson was subsequently inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame in 2012.Tomlinson told NPR that he had a feeling that what he had discovered with the “@” symbol would have some impact.“What I didn’t imagine was how quickly that would happen,” he said. March 7, 2016 2 min read Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. Register Now »last_img read more

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