Nancy Kacungira Awarded The BBC World News Komla Dumor Award

Today, the BBC announced that KTN News Anchor Nancy Kacungira has been awarded the BBC World News Komla Dumor Award.

Nancy, who was born in Uganda, joined KTN in Kenya in 2013 as an anchor for prime time news and has reported from Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya. She also produces and presents a weekly segment that tells the inspirational stories of people working to better their local communities, and is KTN’s Social Media Editor.  Prior to joining KTN, Nancy presented for Power FM in Kampala, and has also worked in digital marketing.

Nancy will join the BBC News teams in London for a three month placement starting in September. This placement provides the opportunity to gain skills and experience working with teams across BBC News on TV, radio and online reaching the BBC’s audiences of 308 million across the world.

Nancy said, “I am so greatly honoured and humbled to be the winner of this award. What I am most grateful for is the incredible opportunity given to me by the BBC to take my passion for African stories to the world stage and I look forward to reflecting the intriguing nuances of our continent in the story I will produce.  I have always believed deeply and resolutely in the immense power and potential of Africa and Africans, and Komla Dumor was for me, one of the best examples of that; not just in his body of work, but in his personality too. To be a part of continuing his legacy is such an honour it feels almost like a dream!”

Nancy impressed the judges with her well-rounded knowledge of the complex issues facing Africa and her awareness of the challenges involved in covering the continent. Her passion for telling Africa’s diverse stories and challenging preconceived stereotypes reflect Komla’s own devotion to the continent and, as part of his legacy, Nancy will be able to share her enthusiasm with the BBC’s global audience.

James Harding, Director of BBC News and Current Affairs, said, “When Komla Dumor died, it was an enormous loss to the BBC, to the coverage of Africa and to all of us personally.  I am delighted that in Nancy we have found an extremely passionate and talented journalist, a worthy winner of the award that we established in Komla’s name.”

Solomon Mugera, BBC Africa Editor said: “We are delighted to award the BBC World News Komla Dumor award to Nancy Kacungira. I believe that Nancy’s passion for, and understanding of, African journalism truly embodies everything the BBC World News Komla Dumor Award has been set up to commemorate. We look forward to welcoming her to London.”

The award was set up in honour of presenter Komla Dumor who passed away in January 2014 and aims to continue Komla’s legacy by celebrating African journalism and finding exceptional talent. The judging panel included BBC Global News Editor Vera Kwakofi, BBC Foreign Editor, Andrew Roy and the Editor for the Mail and Guardian in Africa, Charles Onyango-Obbo.

There are two runners up for the award:   Leila Dee Dougan from South Africa and Paa Kwesi Asare from Ghana.

 

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US Begins Shipment Of Arms To Nigeria

Despite a much touted “ban” allegedly preventing the United States from exporting arms to the Nigerian forces, Pentagon records show the US Army is sending military equipment, including armoured vehicles and ambulances, to Nigeria, which has been embroiled in counter-insurgency operations in the northeast.

Facts that the US is sending arms to Nigeria came on the heels of the US Ambassador to Nigeria, James Entwistle’s revelation in an interview with one of our correspondents that the US government never placed arms embargo on Nigeria.

“There’s been a lot of misunderstanding on this issue before, during and after President Muhammadu Buhari’s visit to Washington. Let me be clear about a couple of things. One, we had worked very closely with Nigeria on the Leahy Amendment….The second piece of misinformation, which has been bandied about in (newspapers’) headlines, is that the US has lifted its arms embargo on Nigeria. There was never an arms embargo,” Entwistle said.

President Muhammudu Buhari complained last month that the US had “aided and abetted the Boko Haram terrorists” by refusing to send arms to Nigeria forces on the grounds of “unproven allegations of human rights violations levelled”.

In a speech before the US Institute of Peace, he blamed a “blanket application” of Leahy Laws, legislation introduced by Sen. Patrick J. Leahy to prohibit US public funds from being given to foreign military units involved in gross human rights violations.

But Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) records show the Department of Defense is nonetheless set to transfer military material to Nigeria.

A DSCA list of so-called Excess Defense Articles slated for Nigeria indicates the US Army is about to transfer Caiman trucks, armoured vehicles designed “to defeat current and emerging threats,” according to their manufacturer, British-based BAE Systems.

The RFI added that the US government was also sending armoured vehicles known as MaxxPro MRAP (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected), made by Navistar Defence, an Illinois company, and Israeli-based Plasan Sasa.

It is unclear which Nigerian military units will receive the equipment, but the report said that the US government had confirmed that deliveries were pending.

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ISIS Release List Of 1,400 People Targeted For Attack

Islamic State (IS) released a ‘hit-list’ of no fewer than 1,400 people, and includes the details of eight Australian police officers, defence force employees and public figures.

Representatives from IS took to social media on Wednesday night to announce the publication of the list – mostly made up of U.S. Defense Force personnel.

The release of the list was accompanied by an order to strike, prompting warnings of lone-wolf style attacks on Australian soil.

Members of the Australian Federal Police (AFP) had their details hacked and posted to the list.

A Victorian state politician, health workers, a defense force member and an army reservist also had their details posted online.

The government released a brief statement on Thursday, saying that “as a matter of principle and long-standing practice, the government does not discuss specific cyber incidents, activities or capabilities.

“Discussing details of any cyber incident could jeopardise ongoing investigations, monitoring of cyber incidents and the ability to protect information and networks,” the statement said.

A spokesperson said the government was taking the threat ‘very seriously,’ adding that the security of Australian citizens was `the first priority.’

“We are advised that all relevant law enforcement and security agencies are looking into these claims and are in contact with relevant state and international partners,” the spokesperson said.

Meanwhile, the AFP said it would continue to ensure the safety of Australian citizens as well as its members and employees were not compromised.

The list contains the names, departments, e-mail addresses passwords and telephone numbers of those eight Australians.

According to news, IS supporters have encouraged lone wolf-style attacks, with one saying the list was `useful’ for those intending to carry out an act of terrorism.

“This information is very useful for lone wolves to act and kill,” one of them said on a social media.

A note accompanying the list also said that “with the permission of Allah (we) will strike at your necks in your own lands.”

The Minister for Assisting the Prime Minister on Counter- Terrorism, Michael Keenan, is expected to be briefed by the AFP later on Thursday.

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US Sentences Nigerian Jihadist To 22 Years In Prison

A Nigerian citizen accused of receiving weapons training from al Qaeda’s Yemeni affiliate and writing rap lyrics, among other contributions, for the group’s English-language media operations was sentenced on Wednesday to 22 years in US prison, authorities said.

Reuters reports that Lawal Babafemi, 35, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge John Gleeson in Brooklyn after pleading guilty in April 2014 to providing material support to a designated foreign terrorist organisation, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

Prosecutors had sought up to 30 years in prison for Babafemi, who was extradited from Nigeria in 2013 after being arrested several times two years earlier on local terrorism charges.

Babafemi’s court-appointed lawyer in Brooklyn was not immediately available for comment on Wednesday afternoon.

Prosecutors said that from January 2010 to August 2011, Babafemi travelled from Nigeria to Yemen twice to meet with leaders of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, known as AQAP.

During his time with that group, Babafemi, who went by the name “Ayatollah Mustapha,” worked on AQAP’s media operations, including its magazine “Inspire,” prosecutors said.

He and two other individuals including a Vietnamese man named Minh Quang Pham contributed writing and editing, prosecutors said, and Babafemi became close with Samir Khan, a U.S. citizen who was Inspire’s editor.

Together, the men appeared in the magazine in a photograph, wearing camouflage and holding rifles, authorities say.

After Khan and Pham had the idea of recording rap songs as AQAP propaganda, Babafemi began writing lyrics about jihad, prosecutors said.

The group’s leadership, including Anwar al-Awlaki, paid Babafemi almost $9,000 to recruit English speakers from Nigeria, prosecutors said.

Khan and Awlaki, a U.S. citizen born in New Mexico, were killed in U.S. drone strikes in Yemen in 2011.

Pham was extradited to the United States in March and is awaiting trial.

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ISIS Executes 19 Girls For Refusing Them Sex

  • The women refused to practice ‘sexual jihad’, a Kurdish official has claimed
  • He also claimed money, distribution of women has created a rift within ISIS
  • ISIS published ‘price list’ of captured Yazidi, Christian sex slaves last year
  • UN envoy verified the document as genuine after spending time in region

He claimed the women were being held hostage in Islamic State’s stronghold of Mosul, Iraq, which the terror group seized in June last year.

Meanwhile a UN envoy investigating Islamic State’s vile sex trade has said ‘girls get peddled like barrels of petrol’ and one can be bought by six different men.

She also verified a disturbing ISIS document which suggested the extremists sell the Yazidi and Christian women and children they have abducted, with girls aged just one to nine-years-old fetching the most money.

ISIS stormed the Sinjar district in northern Iraq last year and captured hundreds of women belonging to the Yazidi community, who the Islamists view as heretics.

Barbaric: ISIS fanatics have reportedly executed 19 women (file photo) for refusing to have sex with its fighters
Enslaved: A UN envoy investigating Islamic State's vile sex trade says 'girls get peddled like barrels of petrol' (file photo purports to show captured girls in ISIS territory)

Enslaved: A UN envoy investigating Islamic State’s vile sex trade says ‘girls get peddled like barrels of petrol’ (file photo purports to show captured girls in ISIS territory)

The sex slaves who somehow escaped Islamic State’s clutches have told of how they were forced to marry fighters who physically and sexually abused them.

It is not known whether the 19 women executed – supposedly just a few days ago – were Yazidis or not.

They were put to death because they refused to ‘participate in the practice of sexual jihad,’ a spokesman for the Kurdish Democratic Party in Mosul told Iraqi News.

Said Mimousini also claimed issues around money and the distribution of women have caused a rift within ISIS’s ranks.

In October, the terror group released a pamphlet which showed how much it charged for the purchase of its female captives.

 Despicable: The UN’s special envoy for sexual violence in conflict, Zainab Bangura, said: ‘Sometimes these fighters sell the girls back to their families for thousands of dollars of ransom’

ISIS’S DESPICABLE ‘PRICE LIST’ FOR YAZIDI AND CHRISTIAN SLAVES

A translated version of the document (left) was shared online by humanitarian and peace prize winner Dr Widad Akrawi, and reads as follows:

We have received news that the demand in Women and Cattle market has sharply decreased and that will affect Islamic State revenues as well as the funding of mujahideen in the battlefield, therefore we have made some changes. Below are the prices for Yazidi and Christian women.

The price for Yazidi or Christian women between the age of 40 – 50 is $43 (£27)

$75 (48) for 30 to 40-year-olds

$86 (£55) for 20 to 30-year-olds

$130 (£83) for ten to 20-year-olds

$172 (£110) for one to nine-year-olds

Customers are allowed to purchase only three items with the exception of customers from Turkey, Syria and Gulf countries. 

Dated and sealed by ISIS in Iraq October 16, 2014.

Its authenticity was debated until April, when the UN’s special envoy for sexual violence in conflict confirmed it was genuine during a trip to Iraq.

Zainab Bangura told Bloomberg: ‘The girls get peddled like barrels of petrol… One girl can be sold and bought by five or six different men.

‘Sometimes these fighters sell the girls back to their families for thousands of dollars of ransom.’

The shocking document described the women it abducted as ‘items’ and claimed a decrease in demand of ‘women and cattle’ affected ‘Islamic State revenues as well as the funding of mujahideen in the battlefield’.

It then gives the prices of women and children by age, with one to nine-year-olds costing the most – around £110. The older the women, the lower the price.

 The pamphlet – published on October 16 – goes on to say: ‘Customers are allowed to purchase only three items with the exception of customers from Turkey, Syria and Gulf countries.

Bangura said the fighters get to choose first and then ‘wealthy Middle-Easterners are allowed to

The UN envoy has previously said the best looking Yazidi virgins are sent to depraved slave auctions in Islamic State’s adopted capital of Raqqa in Syria, where they are stripped naked and sold to the highest bidder.

They have a marriage bureau which organizes all of these ‘marriages’ and the sale of women… They have a price list

She said Islamic State, which controls over four million people living inside its territory in Iraq and Syria, is unlike any other terror group.

Bangura added: ‘They [ISIS] have a machinery… They have a manual on how you treat these women. They have a marriage bureau which organizes all of these ‘marriages’ and the sale of women… They have a price list.’

An ISIS video released in November last year appeared to show an ISIS ‘sex slave market’ where fighters can choose among different Yazidi girls who are priced according to ‘desirable’ physical features.

Since then, several women who managed to escape their abusive captors have told of the pain and suffering they endured under ISIS rule.

Only last month, three Yazidi women who were forced to become jihadi said they were raped ‘five times a day’ after being traded as human cargo.

– Dailymail 

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Kenyan President Publicly Disagrees With Obama On Gay Rigths

President Obama publicly disagreed with his Kenyan counterpart over gay rights today as he urged African nations not to discriminate against individuals based on sexual orientation.

The president made the remarks at a news conference he held with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, who called gay rights in his country a “non-issue.” Obama discussed the subject on his first full day in Kenya while drawing on his own background as an African-American in the U.S.

“If somebody is a law-abiding citizen who is going about their business and working in a job and obeying the traffic signs and doing all the other things that good citizens are supposed to do and not harming anybody, the idea that they are going to be treated differently or abused because of who they love is wrong,” Obama said.

Shortly after, Kenyatta said while the U.S. and Kenya share many values, gay rights is an issue on which the two countries disagree.

“There are some things that we must agree we don’t share,” he said. “Our culture, our societies don’t accept [homosexuality].”

Kenyatta added it was difficult to impose beliefs on the Kenyan people that they “do not accept.”

“This issue is not really an issue that is on the foremost mind of Kenyans and that is a fact,” he said.

While the U.S. has made strides on gay rights issues, most recently with the Supreme Court’s decision on same-sex marriage, many countries in Africa, including Kenya, hold more conservative views. Same sex relations are still illegal in Kenya and Ethiopia, where the president will travel on Sunday.

Ahead of the trip, several Kenyan political and religious leaders had warned President Obama not to discuss gay rights while in the country.

ABC News

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Meet The Muslim Student Faatimah Knight Who Raised $81,000 To Rebuild Black Churches Destroyed By Fire

Faatimah Knight, a Muslim student at Chicago Theological Seminary, is breaking down religious barriers in order to help rebuild the eight southern Black churches recently set ablaze. Within a ten-day span, several Black churches were burned down in Florida, Georgia, Tennessee and both Carolinas. Respond with Love is theLaunchGood campaign set up by Ms. Knight to help rebuild the churches destroyed following the massacre at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC. With three days left in the campaign, Faatimah, along with Ummah Wide, Muslim Anti-Racism Collaborative and the Arab American Association of New York have raised $81,741 of their $100,000 goal in just 12 days.

“We wanted to show that as a Muslim community, their pain did not go unnoticed by us—that we did, if fact, feel deeply for their loss… The Muslim community and the Black community are connected in integral ways, one cannot tell the story of one in America without telling the story of the other. We hope that these churches might stand tall again as a testament to the power of human goodness over human vileness and to one day be a place where God’s name is oft-remembered.”- Faatimah Knight to NBC News

Faatimah and her friends initially set out to raise just $500 to send flowers to Emanuel AME Church, but overshot their goal when they ended up raising $900. From there, the LaunchGood campaign was established and has garnered the attention of many influential social media outlets– Mashable, BuzzFeed and Yahoo!, just to name a few. Such a response from a community that experiences similar unfair and even barbaric treatment is not only heartwarming, but also a symbolic gesture of love and support for all those who wish to divide us.

“And were it not that Allah checks the people, some by means of others, there would have been demolished monasteries, churches, synagogues, and mosques in which the name of Allah is much mentioned. And Allah will surely support those who support Him. Indeed, Allah is Powerful and Exalted in Might.” [Surah al-Hajj (20): 40]

Unity likes this is important now, at a time when acts of terrorism and racism cause us to question the humanity of those around us– as victims and as villains. Now is a great time to strengthen the ties that bind us to this earth. There are only a couple of days left in Faatimah’s campaign, but I encourage you to look into ways you and your community can help out as well!

“As a whole, however, we understand the climate of racially inspired hate and bigotry that is being reignited in this country. We want to let our African American brothers and sisters know that we stand in solidarity with them during this dark hour. As a small symbol of that solidarity, during this blessed month of Ramadan, we are gathering donations to help rebuild the seven churches that have been burned down since the racist murders in Charleston, South Carolina.” -Imam Zaid Shakir

Source: http://hivesociety.com

 

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US Says World’s Deadliest Terror Group, Boko Haram Is Not Their Concern

  • Boko Haram has killed and maimed over 100,000 innocent People in West Africa
  • Boko Haram has displaced over 2 million people, the second largest displacement in any country currently
  • Boko Haram has abducted and violated over 2000 women and children
  • Boko Haram has captured territory twice ISIS
  • Boko Haram is actually even pledged to and a subsidiary of ISIS
  • But, Boko Haram does not target American interests which along with Nigeria no longer being of economic interest to America, seems to be their only serious intervention determinant

According to a July 16th report in Foreign Policy, the United States government does not plan to provide any of the coveted surveillance necessary for the mission to counter Boko Haram in Nigeria. This as Nigeria’s new president, Muhammadu Buhari eagerly heads to the White House with a robust delegation to meet officially with President Barack Hussein Obama.

Boko Haram: A Real Deadly Threat To West Africa

Boko Haram is comfortably the top most terror organization in the world. In spite of the United State Department acknowledging in a report this June that Boko Haram is the most deadly terror organization in the world, having “killed more people” in 2013 and 2014 than the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, ISIS or any other terror organization, the White House according to officials referenced by Foreign Policy, ranks Boko Haram as “low priority.”

In January this year Boko Haram carried out the world’s most deadly single terror attack of the entire decade, killing over 2500 innocent people, mainly Muslims in Baga fishing community, at the border of Borno state. In view of the US stance, it is clearly not surprising why there was a “global blackout” on this event which was submerged by a miniscule terror attack in France in which about five people died. This illustrated not just the US posture but the empathy void of the entire Western world towards Black Africa and its crisis. Darfur once again.

Boko Haram continues to launch insurgent attacks across towns in Nigeria’s north, killing scores and raising towns to the ground. The group also almost daily employs little girls whom it straps with bombs and detonates in the middle of crowded places, Markets, Mosques and Churches. In the past thirty days only the group has killed as many as a thousand Nigerians and Chadians, continuing to surpass the worsts of ISIS. Yet it took years and much canvassing from right groups and activists for the US to finally and reluctantly list the group as a Foreign Terror Organization, FTO.

Actually Pledged To ISIS

In March this year, Boko Haram pledged allegiance to ISIS. Several terrorists from Nigeria have been found training with ISIS in fulfilling that bond. This Month, Boko Haram, now the African arm of ISIS, posted their first ISIS-style beheading video. While ISIS in the Middle East is a little bit more of a concern to the US because of economic and strategic interests, Boko Haram, now ISIS in Black-African Nigeria is apparently of little to no concern to the Obama administration.

While according to the Pentagon budget, the US spends $9 million-a-day fighting ISIS, a total of $2.74 billion since August 2014, it has only committed to contributing $5 million to the Buhari-lead Multi-national military mission of Nigeria and its neighbors against Boko Haram. That’s less than it costs Obama to fly for a three-day sightseeing trip to Ireland.

If not the dearth of military equipment, the financial numbers say it all about US’ concern with West Africa’s deadly problem. Perhaps by accident or by expectation, Nigeria’s News Agency, NAN erroneously reported the US was contributing $5 billion to Nigeria. US hastily corrected the error: “get it straight, $5 million.”

Not Much Change From Previous Posture

The current US posture continues the trend through the prior regime of Nigeria’s corruption embellished, lackadaisical and “incompetent” President, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. During his almost six-year tenure, accused of operating a highly corrupt, inefficient military engaged in gross human right abuses and war crimes, Jonathan failed to get any meaningful support from the United States.

It can be recollected that not until the abduction of 234 girls from a school in Chibok in April of 2014 got advocates which included our ENDS organization to via substantial media uproar with campaigns like the viral “Sambisa Forest: Call For Jihad To Free Abducted 200 Girls” and later the #BringBackOurGirls campaign, woo international attention and support, did the US send limited surveillance planes to Niger and a handful of men to Nigeria to run assistance missions. These were determinately rate and time limited however and within a few months the two Cessna surveillance aircraft were pulled out from the Boko Haram cause and sent elsewhere to “more important missions.”

The cancellation of military training by the Nigerian administration was cited as a main reason why the US got even more pissed with Jonathan, and why the US blocked Nigeria from purchasing needed Cobra helicopters from Israel.

Recognizing the US’ excuse of military brutality, criminality and corruption by the Security chiefs under the Jonathan administration as documented in Amnesty and other reports, the Buhari government a week to the US trip fired all Security chiefs and placed the nation’s Security adviser under house arrest. There is a clear message here: Buhari/Osinbajo is serious and will probe. Apparently this notice is not enough as the US according to FP is still not willing to seriously assist embattled Nigeria, coming seemingly desperate with begging bowl.

Obama’s policy however does not sit well even with US lawmakers who “want the United States to do more.”

“The Nigerians ‘can be assisted mightily by the assets that we have, such as satellite technology for tracking and identifying positions by Boko Haram,” Royce told FP.’

A Promise And Alternatives

As President Buhari visits this Monday, the least Obama can do is promise that if Buhari acts right he will give Nigeria reasonable support.

Nigeria is well advised to be ready to make the important decisions in the best interest of protecting the lives of its people including looking elsewhere (including internally) in a hurry and without clueless deadly delay as former President Jonathan is accused of.

Dr. Peregrino Brimah; http://ENDS.ng [Every Nigerian Do Something] Email: drbrimah@ends.ng Twitter: @EveryNigerian

 

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Former US Army General Michael Flynn Says “Drone Cause More Damage Than Good”

Al Jazeera English ‘Head to Head’ interview with Lt. Gen Michael Flynn
• Retired US lieutenant general and former Obama spy chief calls for “different approach” on drones
• Says “strategic mistake” of Iraq war boosted ISIL by “putting fuel on a fire”
• US prisons in Iraq “absolutely” helped radicalize young Iraqis
• Obama administration didn’t “listen” to his intelligence agency’s 2012 warnings on rise of Al-Qaeda-linked rebel groups in Syria
President Obama’s former top military intelligence official has launched a scathing attack on the White House’s counter-terrorism strategy, including the administration’s handling of the ISIL threat in Iraq and Syria and the US military’s drone war.
In a forthcoming interview with Al Jazeera English’s Head to Head, retired US Lt. General Michael Flynn, who quit as head of the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) in August 2014, said “there should be a different approach, absolutely” on drones.
“When you drop a bomb from a drone… you are going to cause more damage than you are going to cause good.”
Flynn was a senior intelligence officer with the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), which is responsible for the US military’s secretive and controversial drone program in countries such
as Yemen and Somalia.
Asked by Al Jazeera English’s Mehdi Hasan if drone strikes tend to create more terrorists than they kill, Flynn – who has been described by Wired magazine as “the real father of the modern JSOC” – replied: “I don’t disagree with that,” adding: “I think as an overarching strategy, it’s a failed strategy.”
“What we have is this continued investment in conflict,” the retired general said. “The more weapons we give, the more bombs we drop, that just… fuels the conflict.  Some of that has to be
done but I’m looking for the other solutions.”
Commenting on the rise of ISIL in Iraq, Flynn acknowledged the role played by the US invasion and occupation of Iraq.  “We definitely put fuel on a fire,” he told Hasan. “Absolutely… there’s
no doubt, I mean… history will not be kind to the decisions that were made, certainly in 2003.”
“Going into Iraq, definitely… it was a strategic mistake,” Flynn said.
The former lieutenant general denied any involvement in the litany of abuses carried out by JSOC interrogators at Camp Nama in Iraq, as revealed by the New York Times and Human Rights Watch, but admitted the US prison system in Iraq in the post-war period “absolutely” helped radicalize Iraqis who later joined Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) and ISIL.
Flynn also called for greater accountability for US soldiers involved in abuses against Iraqi detainees: “You know I hope that as more and more information comes out, that people are held accountable… History is not going to look kind on those actions… and we will be held, we should be held, accountable for many, many years to come.”
Publicly commenting for the first time on a previously-classified August 2012 Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) memo, which had predicted “the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in Eastern Syria (…) this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want” and confirmed that “the Salafists, the Muslim Brotherhood, and [Al Qaeda
in Iraq] are the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria,” the former DIA chief told Head to Head that “the [Obama] Administration” didn’t “listen” to these warnings issued by his agency’s analysts.
 “I don’t know if they turned a blind eye,” he said. “I think it was a decision, I think it was a willful decision.”
This special edition of Head to Head was filmed in Al Jazeera’s Washington DC studio. This series of Head of Head also includes interviews with feminist and democracy activist Naomi Wolf and renowned economist Sir Paul Collier at the Oxford Union.  In each episode, Hasan goes head to head with a special guest, asking the probing and hard-hitting questions few dare to ask, on the big issues such faith, foreign intervention, the Middle East, US foreign policy, and the economic crisis.
Is the US to blame for ISIL? with Michael Flynn will be broadcast on Friday, 31 July 2015 at 20.00 GMT and will be repeated on Saturday 1 August at 12.00 GMT, Saturday 2 August at 01.00 GMT and Monday 3 August at 06.00 GMT.
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Burundian General Threatens To Lead Armed Uprising Against President Nkurunziza

General Leonard Ngendakumana has threatened to lead an armed uprising against Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza if he follows through with his plan to run for a third term in next week’s presidential elections.

Burundi held parliamentary elections on June 29th which were condemned by international observers and shunned by citizens for not being free or fair. Nkurunziza’s party, the CNDD-FDD, won 77 out of 100 National Assembly seats. Burundi’s presidential elections will be held on July 15th.

General Ngendakumana made the statements during an interview on Kenyan television at an undisclosed location outside of Burundi on Sunday. He subsequently attended a meeting in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania with leaders of East African countries and South Africa to discuss solutions to the political crisis rocking Burundi.

The East African countries attending the meeting called for the July 15th Burundi presidential election to be delayed to July 30, to allow mediation between opposing factions.

Ngendakumana is the deputy to General Godfried Niyombare who led the May 13th failed coup attempt.

“The next [step] is to organize ourselves just to resist, to make Pierre Nkurunziza understand that he must leave and then that we are prepared to do it by force, by organising a military force,” General Ngendakumana told Kenya’s KTN television, adding that coup leader General Godefroid Niyombare was still in Burundi.

Ngendakumana said Burundi’s government wanted “to engage the region in that civil war, based on ethnic [issues]”.

“Anybody threatening the security of Burundi, either inside or outside, will meet the full force of our defence and security forces,” presidential spokesman Gervais Abayeho said.

Nkurunziza’s opponents argue that his bid for a third term violates the constitution and a peace deal which ended an ethnically charged civil conflict in 2005. His announcement incited weeks of violent clashes between protesters and police in Burundi’s capital, Bujumbara.

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Journalists Speak Out Against Flotilla Ordeal at Hands of Israel

Two Al Jazeera journalists have spoken out after Israeli navy forces assaulted and abducted them while covering the ‘Freedom Flotilla III’ heading to Gaza.

Mohamed El Bakkali, Al Jazeera’s reporter accompanying the flotilla, said that the attack on the ship occurred in international waters, which is an act of piracy and a violation of international law.

El Bakkali said, “We were 100 km deep in international waters when the Israeli Navy intercepted us and demanded the ship to be stopped and handed over. Upon the captain’s rejection, the soldiers stormed the ship and assaulted some of whom were in the cockpit. After that, they led the ship to Ashdod where we were inspected and investigated, all of our belongings (mobiles, laptops and cards) were confiscated, and then we were jailed pending deportation.”

Ammar Hamdan, the Al Jazeera cameraman who documented the trip, said that the Israeli army abducted and detained them under the sun in the middle of the sea for nearly 12 hours. Hamdan also said that the Israeli authorities “lost their minds” after Al Jazeera’s footage reached the world from the vessel, especially the images of Israeli soldiers storming the ship. Hamdan added: “All of their attempts to make me reveal  the whereabouts of the footage failed, which prompted them to blackmail and search me more than five times. They reached a level of ugliness and depravity to photograph me naked. In the end, one of the officers lost his mind and shouted at his men claiming that I swallowed the camera memory cards, and I will get it out of my stomach after I get released”.

El Bakkali said that Israeli forces accused the journalists during the investigation of breaking the law. He also added that the Israeli authorities did not respect their right to call a lawyer during investigation, and refused his request to contact Al Jazeera’s bureau chief in Jerusalem.

Al Jazeera’s acting director general Mostefa Souag said:

“Israel has violated many international laws by hijacking and arresting journalists doing their job on a peaceful and unarmed flotilla while in international waters and heading to Gaza for humanitarian purposes. We call on the international community to work together to protect journalists who are doing their profession of covering stories. The release of our colleagues without returning all of their personal possessions and technical equipment is not enough. We together  must do whatever it takes to expose violations of journalists’ rights”.

This is not the first incident where Israel has boarded and taken over ships and captured journalists. In previous flotillas, and among other activists and journalists, Al Jazeera’s Othman Battiri, Jamal Elshayyal, Mohamed Vall, Ali Sabri, Andre Khalil, Wasimah bin Saleh and Abbas Nasser were all taken into custody by Israeli forces and then later released.

In this context, El Bakkali commented: “What happened to us is a violation of press freedom and an attempt to commit a crime without witnesses. However, this will not deter us from continuing our mission of reporting the truth with impartiality and integrity, regardless the sacrifices”. Hamdan commented on that saying: “Even if the price is what happened to me when they sentenced me in absentia prohibiting me from entering Occupied Palestine for ten years.”

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Facebook Opens First African Office In Johannesburg

Facebook has opened its first office in Africa to further the company’s commitment to help businesses connect with people and grow locally and regionally. Based in Melrose Arch, Johannesburg, Facebook’s newest business office will be headed by Ogilvy veteran, Nunu Ntshingila, the company’s new Head of Africa.

Facebook is already an important part of how people and business connect in Africa. This office will support the significant growth in businesses and people using Facebook — Facebook’s active user population in Africa has grown 20% to 120 million in June 2015 from 100 million in September 2014. More than 80% of these people access Facebook from their mobile phones.

“We are inspired by the incredible ways people and businesses in Africa use Facebook to connect. This momentum in Africa comes on top of strong advertiser partnerships and excellent adoption of our products across all regions. In Q1 2015, 52% of our total ad revenue came from outside the US and Canada. But we’re just getting started,” says Nicola Mendelsohn, VP, EMEA, Facebook.

“Mobile is not a trend; it’s the fastest development in communications we’ve ever seen. This couldn’t be more true in Africa – where so many people are mobile-only. This new office is a significant milestone for Facebook and our teams want to partner with businesses across the continent,” Mendelsohn adds.

“Africa is important to Facebook, and this office is a key part of our strategy to expand our investment and presence across EMEA. Facebook is already a central part of people’s lives in Africa, and with more than a billion people in Africa, we want to do more to help people and businesses connect.”

Helping businesses of all sizes to grow

“Our new African office will support our customers across the continent. We know that a one-size-fits-all approach won’t work when it comes to building products and solutions that address diverse needs on the continent, which is why we are committed to creating solutions tailored to people, businesses and specifically for African markets,” says Ari Kesisoglu, Regional Director, MEA at Facebook. image003

Kesisoglu continued, “Our priority for the next few months is to continue the work we are already doing with some clients in this region. We will work more closely with businesses and agencies to understand the challenges, so that we can build solutions that help grow their business. People increasingly want to be connected to the world around them and desire information about new services and products to better their lives. At the same time, businesses need stronger, more flexible and less fragmented ways of reaching people in Sub Saharan Africa. Our mission will be to connect brands and consumers in Africa, creating value for all parties in the process.”

 Adds Mendelsohn: “We are delighted we have a strong leadership team in place on the continent led by Nunu Ntshingila, our new Head of Africa. Nunu will join our team in September of this year and work with businesses and agencies across the region.” Nunu helped drive the creation of Ogilvy’s network in Sub Saharan Africa, which spans some 27 countries. A graduate of the University of Swaziland and Morgan State University in the US, Ntshingila has also held senior positions at Nike and the South African Tourism board.

Growth markets

Facebook will initially focus on growing its business in anchor countries in the major regions of Sub Saharan Africa:  Kenya (East Africa), Nigeria (West Africa), and South Africa (Southern Africa). Other supported territories include Senegal, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, Zambia, Mozambique and Ethiopia.

Facebook will partner with governments, telecom operators, agencies and other stakeholders to deliver localised solutions to advertisers and users continent-wide. It will continue to focus on tailoring solutions, metrics and ad formats to the needs of customers and advertisers in the mobile-first, mobile-only African environment.

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