Wednesday, June 15, 2011

International Federation of Journalists Backs Pakistani Journalists

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) supports the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) in rejecting of the Pakistan Government’s terms for appointing a judicial commission to investigate the abduction and murder in late May of journalist Saleem Shahzad.

 The Government announced on June 14 that it would appoint the Chief Justice of the Federal Sharia Court, Agha Mohammad Rafique, to head the commission.

However, the PFUJ insisted the inquiry must be led by a fully independent Supreme Court justice. 

Appointments to the Supreme Court are made by the President on the recommendation of the court’s Chief Justice, and are permanent appointments. Justices of the Federal Sharia Court are directly appointed by the Government on an ad hoc basis for a limited tenure of three years.

The PFUJ had demanded the Government set up a commission headed by a Supreme Court judge by June 10. The demand was supported by the IFJ and other organisations around the world.

“The inquiry into Shahzad’s murder must be as independent and transparent as possible, and recognised as such by the wider population. It is therefore necessary that the inquiry be headed by a Supreme Court justice,” IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park said.

The PFUJ, an IFJ affiliate, said journalists would proceed with a 24-hour sit-in outside the Federal Parliament from 3pm on June 15, and would boycott national and provincial assemblies for two days. Similar protests will be held at provincial assemblies in Quetta, Peshawar, Lahore and Karachi.

PFUJ president Pervaiz Shaukat told a press conference on June 14 that the Government was not paying heed to the demands of journalists for full investigations to bring killers of journalists to justice and to end the culture of impunity for the murders of media personnel across all provinces of Pakistan. 

PFUJ secretary-general Amin Yousuf said journalists would only accept a judicial commission headed by a Supreme Court judge.

Journalists in Pakistan have voiced outrage since the body of Shahzad was found about 150km southeast of Islamabad on May 31. Shahzad disappeared in Islamabad on May 29, two days after he published on Asia Times Online an investigative report into alleged links between Al-Qaeda and Pakistani naval officials.

At least four more Pakistani journalists have been reported killed in connection to their work during 2011.

-     Asfandyar Khan, of the daily Akhbar-i-Khyber, died in a bomb blast, Peshawar, June 11.

-     NasrullahAfridi, of Pakistan Television (PTV) and the Urdu daily Mashriq, murdered in targeted car-bomb blast, Peshawar, May 10.

-     WaliKhan Babar, of GEO TV, murdered by unknown gunmen, Karachi, January 13.

-     IlyasNazar, of the Baloch-language Darwanth, found dead in Pidarak, Balochistan, January 5, after abduction on December 28.

Following the June 11 twin-blast in Peshawar, trainee reporter Shafiullah Khan, of TheNews, is reported to be in a critical condition in hospital, suffering burns to 70 per cent of his body.

For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0919

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries

Find the IFJ on Twitter: @ifjasiapacific

Find the IFJ on Facebook here

 International Press Card: Dont Leave Home Without It: Apply Here 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Canadian Boat to Gaza: The Tahrir:Together We Will Break the Siege


The Tahrir is sailing with Freedom Flotilla II - Stay Human.  30 delegates from across the country are preparing themselves for a difficult but necessary voyage.  

We are also assembling a dedicated group of volunteers across the country who will remain in Canada, supporting the launch of the flotilla, tracking and communicating with the Tahrir once it sets sail, handling media and public actions regionally and nationally. 

We are asking you to continue contributing to the Canadian Boat to Gaza so the Tahrir and its passengers can sail with all the necessary equipment and security devices needed for this difficult trip.

The people of Gaza are waiting for us.  
Witness Gaza

Together We Will Break the Siege!


Chers ami-e-s,

Dans quelques semaines, et ce grâce à vous, le Tahrir va naviguer avec la Flottille de la liberté II – Rester humains. Une trentaine de délégué-e-s du Québec et du Canada se préparent actuellement pour un voyage difficile mais nécessaire. Nous continuons à travailler avec nos partenaires internationaux à l’organisation finale de tous les aspects du projet. Nous avons aussi mis sur pied une équipe de bénévoles qui resteront ici pour appuyer la flottille, notamment en maintenant la communication avec le Tahrir durant son voyage, en assurant les liens avec les médias et en coordonnant les actions publiques qui s’organiseront un peu partout au pays.

Vous avez peut-être entendu parler d’une poursuite légale pour empêcher le bateau de partir. Sachez que celle-ci ne nous arrêtera pas et que nous continuons à nous préparer afin d’atteindre notre objectif, Gaza, d’ici la fin juin.

Jusqu’à maintenant, nous avons recueilli environ 340 000$ en dons provenant de gens comme vous. Contrairement à des affirmations diffusées par certains medias, nous réaffirmons que tout cet argent a été donné par des citoyens et des citoyennes, des organisations communautaires et syndicales, sans appui gouvernemental ni exemption fiscale. Il s’agit donc d’une initiative citoyenne authentique à laquelle toutes ces personnes croient fermement.

En plus du bateau lui-même, qui absorbe la majeure partie des coûts, il y a plusieurs autres dépenses incontournables pour un projet d’une telle importance et d’une telle difficulté. Il nous faut notamment de l’équipement de communication qui doit être plus sophistiqué que prévu afin de répondre aux besoins des médias qui seront à bord et éviter les possibles interférences israéliennes. Nous devons aussi assumer des coûts pour le combustible, les réparations, l’équipement de sécurité, etc. Rappelons aussi que nous avons dû prendre un bateau plus gros que prévu afin de permettre à plus de personnes de participer à l’opération et d’envoyer plus d’aide humanitaire à Gaza.

Pour toutes ces raisons, nous avons besoin de 50 000$ supplémentaires pour assumer tous les coûts du projet. Nous vous prions donc de contribuer à nouveau au Bateau pour Gaza afin que le Tahrir et ses passagers puissent naviguer en toute sécurité et avec tout l’équipement nécessaire à un tel voyage.

Nous comptons sur votre appui dans cet ultime effort. La population de Gaza nous attend. Si vous n’avez pas encore contribué, nous vous prions de le faire maintenant. Si vous pouvez faire une contribution supplémentaire, n’hésitez pas. Et bien sûr, demandez à vos amis, votre famille et à vos collègues de contribuer. Les dons peuvent être effectués par le biais notre site Internet à

Ensemble, nous allons y arriver!
L’équipe du Bateau canadien pour Gaza

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Oslo Freedom Forum: Dawn of a New Arab World


The Human Rights Foundation (HRF) today releases the first set of videos from the 2011 Oslo Freedom Forum.  Engaging and provocative presentations and panel discussions are now available via YouTube.   HRF invites viewers to share these videos with friends, create discussions in the comment sections, and embed them wherever possible.  

  Justin Hardy - Healing Kashmir

The first set of set of videos includes nine discussions from this year’s conference:

 Jody Williams - The Power of One
The full program will be released over the next two weeks, including talks and conversations from Mona Eltahawy, Shirin Ebadi, Alejandro Toledo, Zoya Phan, Leymah Gbowee, Barbara Demick, James Fallon and Belisario Betancur. Updates and announcements will also be shared on Twitter and Facebook.

 Maryam al-Khawaja - Dawn of a New Arab World

Talks from the 2009 and 2010 conferences are live at www.OsloFreedomForum.comincluding speeches from Elie Wiesel, Yoani Sánchez, Benjamin Skinner, Kasha Jacqueline, and Julian Assange.

 Thomas Glave - Ending Anti-Gay Violence in Jamaica

Founded to address today’s most challenging humanitarian issues, the Oslo Freedom Forum brings some of the world’s most remarkable individuals together from academia, advocacy, business, media, politics, social entrepreneurship, and technology to collaborate on how best to make an impact on the world around them.   

 Mona Eltahawy - Evolution of Censorship

About The Oslo Freedom Forum 

The Oslo Freedom Forum was founded in 2009, by HRF to bring humanitarian issues to the top of the global agenda.  The three-day annual forum highlights the stories of human rights advocates from around the world through engaging presentations in order to raise awareness, bring focus to closed societies, prompt inspired discussion, and empower an international community to affect change. 

 Wael Ghonim presents live from Cairo via satellite

 John Peder Egenæs of Amnesty International Norway

Global media liaison:
Martha Pulido
Office: +1 212 377 358
Mobile: +1 646 441 1468

Occupation and Resistance! Anthology

We are seeking submissions (writings, artworks and photographs) by artists and writers who live under Occupied Rule in Occupied Lands (such as Palestine, Kashmir, Tibet, Afghanistan, Iraq, etc)

What is the PROJECT?

Occupation And Resistance (working title) is an ANTHOLOGY of writings (non-fiction and fiction), artworks, and photos, by artists living in occupied lands, intended for electronic publication by Artists Against Apartheid.


To promote the art and culture of artists, writers, photographers in Occupied Lands, that are otherwise ignored and shunned by the Western mainstream media. We will promote the AAA anthology across the global media landscape and bring increased exposure for artists, writers and civilians living under both foreign and domestic military occupation.


Artist or writer or photographer MUST live in Occupied Lands (such as Palestine, Kashmir, Chechnya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Tibet, etc), not as a transient resident.

Written pieces may be fiction or non-fiction as the medium of publication will be a printable PDF, written and visual artworks of all kinds are welcomed. All written pieces must be submitted in English only. (please contact us if you need help finding a translator, we can try.)


We will accept creative submissions via: If you are sending large files (over 10MB), please use a service like or to upload your files and send a link. We will acknowledge receipt of all submissions, so please follow up if you have not received a response within one week.

The deadline for submission is August 1st 2011.

Click here to sign up for NEWSLETTER


Thursday, June 9, 2011

Gaza Freedom Flotilla II: Stay Human: Artists NEEDED From Africa, Asia, Latin America

Artists are sought from Africa, Asia and Latin America to join the 2nd Flotilla to Gaza.
Over 300,000 people have applied for the 500 available slots on the upcoming Gaza Freedom Flotilla II.  We want as diverse a group as possible, and are still taking applications from Africa, Asia, and Latin America.   
If you want to join others in this act of global nonviolent civil disobedience, email and make the case for why you should be selected to come aboard.
FREEDOM FLOTILLA 2 departs from Istanbul Turkey between June 25-27.

Artists Against Apartheid is an international alliance committed to Equal Rights and Justice, and the elimination of apartheid in our world. 

Artists interested in joining the alliance please click here.

RUMBLE to Break the Silence: Bike run to expose domestic violence.

The 1st annual "RUMBLE To Break the Silence" motorcycle run and festival is to bring awareness to domestic violence.  "Abuse occurs with men and women and does not just encompass physical violence", Suzanne Perry, of Orchard Park Music House [501c3] stated, "Abuse is control, and control crosses the lines of gender, color, creed and profession."

  • Saturday, June 11th
  • Ulrich City Center
  • 45 Main Street
  • Lockport, NY
  • $5 admission 
  • Children 10 and under FREE
OP Music House, coordinator of festival, creates music events to bring people together for awareness.  Suzanne was abused for 22 years and has gained her freedom back. She teaches that abuse can happen to anyone, educates on warning signs, and informs that there is help. 

The Brothers of the Road conducts charity bike runs and coordinated: "RUMBLE."  They are leading the bike run portion of the day. The Run starts and ends at the Ulrich Center, stopping at Water Street Landing and the Wilson Boat House. Bike Registration starts at 9:30am, $5 passenger, $10 single rider. Roll out 11-2 pm. Go HERE For Bike Registration.

This family-friendly event starts at 2pm with children's face painting, food, games, crafts, prizes and raffles followed with live music by Your Loving X and 100 Proof Justice.  

Sponsors include:  Stylin Tattoo Mobile Unit, Chilly Billy's Ice Cream, and Frickin Wicked Brand Clothing with DieDarlingRadio

Vendor Forms HERE.  
Donations HERE.

Proceeds to purchase a mobile office to be utilized on tour across the United States for the "EXPOSURE Tour." 

"RUMBLE to Break the Silence" is a registered Annual National Domestic Violence Awareness Event.

Stay Tuned for the 2nd EXPOSURE Concert: July 29-31 at Club Paradise in Blasdell, NY.

"Because Love Shouldn't Hurt."

Free Henry! to headline ArtPark June 13 (FREE)


On Monday, June 13th, the Western New York rock band Free Henry! will headline a free concert at Artpark in Lewiston NY.

  • Free Henry!
  • Headlining: Artpark Outdoor Amphitheater
  • Monday, June 13th, 2011
  • 6:30PM - Lewiston, NY

LIVE Video with The Guess Who 


Press Photo

Facebook Event

If you would like to schedule an interview with the band feel free to contact, or by phone at 213-537-7009

Monday, June 6, 2011

Karama.Org/PYA Canada: Summer in Denmark for Palestinian Children

Annica Mårtensson (from Tvind School, Denmark) is organizing the 4th international summer camp in Denmark for a group of young people from based in Deheishe Camp, outside Bethlehem, West Bank.  
10 young people and 2 adults will go to Denmark for 3 weeks in July. They are trying to raise funds so young refugees from Palestine can participate in an International Summer Camp at Tvind School Center []

PYA Canada is helping raise $700 (3.500 Dkr) by end of this month to help support one young child from Palestine to participate in this summer camp. This one experience can change their lives, encourage them and motivate them for better future. 

Anyone can donate via paypal to - we can reach our goal if 140 people donate ONLY $5. Please donate in CAD to ensure that we receive your entire amount.

Please spread the message and write to Annica Mårtensson directly at if you're interested in supporting the project or would like more information.

If you want to donate in person or via online banking - please email for more info.

Here you can also see a small movie from the first summer camp in 2007:

We need support to make this project possible, and therefore contact anyone who might be interested. There are many different ways in which you can involve yourself, such as:

  • Giving donations – contributions of all sizes are most welcome! (In total we need more than 12.000 Euros
  • Make a collection in your local area to raise money for the project. 
  • Help with good ideas to how we can raise the missing money.
  • Spread information about the project among all of your friends and contacts.
  •  Join the camp as a volunteer

PYA Canada
Sana Khan 

PYA Canada is helping raise $700 (3.500 Dkr) by end of this month to help support one young refugee from Palestine to participate in this summer camp. Donate via paypal ( – we can reach our goal if 140 people donate ONLY $5.


Annica Mårtensson
Skolecentret på Tvind
PH: 20352382


Sunday, June 5, 2011

Ken O’Keefe: Announcing the Gaza to Ireland Youth Exchange

Ken O’Keefe: Announcing the Gaza to Ireland Youth Exchange

Our success will be measured in smiles and laughter and the building of bonds akin to creating a cherished extended family and we will succeed.

I have wanted to do this for years, giving serious motivation to youth workers in an attempt to make it happen, trying through volunteers to get a program written up and funding to make it so. But with all that I was doing I simply had not managed to secure the right partners and funding, until now that is.

Myself and my partners are now entered into an agreement in principle with Mr. Maamon Hashem Khozendar, a prominent businessman and philanthropist from Gaza. As a resident of Gaza, Mr. Khozender is also witness to the atrocities committed by Israel against the 800,000 plus children there. His people are providing logistical support in Gaza and my team are partnered with people in the North of Ireland who are doing the same. 

In Gaza and Ireland we are working to identify eight youth to be part of our first exchange. First we plan to fly the kids from Ireland to Gaza (via Egypt), or possibly carry them on our convoy from London to Gaza in July of this year. 

After roughly two weeks of educational tours and fun based activities with four youth from Gaza, all will return to Ireland for similar activities there. Mr. Khozendar will be providing the facilities and funds in both Gaza and Ireland and we have high hopes that the program will soon be expanded; which indeed it will if support from people of goodwill is what I think it will be.

I would love to see 50 or 100 children at a time for each exchange, but we shall start with eight kids, and work our way up from there. Plans are flexible, but again we are looking at two weeks in Ireland, two weeks in Gaza, with ongoing support to facilitate continuing communications and hopefully, regular reunions.

If you live in the North of Ireland and wish to nominate a child for this exchange or support this project in meaningful ways, please contact me at

Together we are going to do something truly special and everyone will get to see the initial results by July at the latest.


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Nothing is Sacred: Saleem Shahzad

Nothing is Sacred:  Saleem Shahzad Shahzad's book released May 20, 2011 
What is truth? According to Merriam-Webster, truth is defined as: fact, the body of real things, an idea that is true or accepted as true, and reality.  What then is a journalist? A journalist is a writer who aims at a mass audience through the medium of journalism. Journalism is writing characterized by a direct presentation of facts or a description of events without an attempt at interpretation. This means a journalist is a writer that writes truth without personal opinion based upon fact and reality.

Syed Saleem Shahzad was the Pakistan Bureau Chief of Asia Times Online, covering issues of global security, focusing on Al-Qaeda and the Taliban. Shahzad has reported on Islamist movements, taking him to Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan, Iran, Syria and the UAE.

Saleem introduced the world to Al-Qaeda and Sheikh Essa. His interviews include Taliban commanders Sirajuddin Haqqani, Qari Ziaur Rahman, and Ilyas Kashmiri, who leads 313 Brigade, the operational arm of Al-Qaeda.

In November of 2007, Saleem Shahzad, journalist and photojournalist, constructed a brief on Pakistan Security Research Unit (PSRU) entitled: The Gathering Strength of Taliban and Tribal Militants in Pakistan. Shahzad's brief focuses on extremism, terrorism, nuclear weapons, internal stability and cohesion, as well as a resource for anyone interested in the security of Pakistan.

To quote Saleem:  "The unending Pakistan/NATO/US military operations in the tribal areas, which are seen by Taliban and tribal groups as being fought for a complete victory and without a will for political reconciliation, have radicalized Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province."

"After 9/11, a very rustic religious zeal and the Taliban’s affinity with Pakistani tribal groups was the reason behind providing shelter to the Arab-Afghan Diaspora in South Waziristan and North Waziristan, but Washington sponsored Pakistan’s half hearted military operations in 2002-03 and sparked some of the force in a shared war of retribution."


What Saleem is presenting is an investigative document based on historical fact and research without imbibing his own opinion. What then again is truth?  The body of real things.  A journalist?  A writer who aims at an audience with a direct presentation of fact without adding his own opinion.

On May 31, 2011, Saleem Shahzad was found dead.

Syed Saleem Shahzad went missing on Sunday, after he left his home in the capital to take part in a talk show, but never arrived. He disappeared two days after writing an investigative report in Asia Times Online that Al-Qaeda carried out last week’s attack on a naval air base to avenge the arrest of naval officials arrested on suspicion of Al-Qaeda links [see Al-Qaeda had warned of Pakistan strike, Asia Times Online, May 26.]

Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Committee to Protect Journalists and Democracy Now have issued public statements regarding the abject horror over one mans death. In 2006, Saleem were captured by Taliban in Afghanistan, yet he remained alive.

Refer to Saleem's 2007 brief:  "As Western-backed military operations continue, Taliban numbers are rising steeply and their confidence is growing. They have even been joined by some Pakistan Army officers who have resigned from the Pakistan Army."

He continues with: "The Taliban are planning to take the war to Pakistan and Afghanistan’s major cities to build an Islamic Emirate. The more the US-backed war is prolonged, the more sophistication the Taliban will be in their strategic development."

Read the above two paragraphs again.

And again.

That was 2007.

On May 20, 2011, 11 days before his untimely death, Saleem Shahzad's new book was released:  "Inside Al-Qaeda and the Taliban: Beyond Bin Laden and 9/11" through Pluto Press in the UK.  On May 04, Shahzad wrote of the death of Osama Bin Laden.

The Associated Press of Pakistan reports: "President Asif Ali Zardari expressed his deep grief and sorrow . . . The President expressed his determination to bring the culprits to justice. He said the present government firmly believes in freedom of media and promotion of democratic values."

The Constitution of Pakistan states in the Preamble: "Therein shall be guaranteed fundamental rights, including equality of status, of opportunity and before law, social, economic and political justice, and freedom of thought, expression, belief, faith, worship and association, subject to law and public morality."

In Part II: Chapter 1: Fundamental Rights: Article 19:  "Every citizen shall have the right to freedom of speech and expression, and there shall be freedom of the press, subject to any reasonable restrictions imposed by law in the interest of the glory of Islam or the integrity, security or defence of Pakistan or any part thereof, friendly relations with foreign States, public order, decency or morality, or in relation to contempt of court, commission of, or incitement to an offence."

Read that again.

Saleem's body showed signs of torture after it was found miles from his car on initial exam, but autopsy results were pending as of May 31, 2011.

Article 5: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights: "No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment."

Saleem Shahzad was a journalist in the truest sense. He presented fact without his own opinion based on research. Why then is he not alive?

Article 19: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights: "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers."

Saleem Shahzad is survived by his wife and three children.  Purchase his book through Pluto Press  [for US purchase go HERE]  to further his work in journalism and assist his family in their time of such unnecessary loss.