Mohamed Fahmy is the last person one would expect to make the case against al-Jazeera. In 2014, the former Cairo bureau chief for the Qatar-funded television network began a 438-day sentence in an Egyptian prison on terrorism charges and practicing unlicensed journalism. His incarceration made al-Jazeera a powerful symbol of resistance to Egypt s military dictatorship. Today Fahmy is preparing a lawsuit against his former employers. And while he is still highly critical of the regime that imprisoned him, he also says the Egyptian government is correct in saying al-Jazeera is really a propaganda channel for Islamists and an arm of Qatari foreign policy. The more the network coordinates and takes directions from the government, the more it becomes a mouthpiece for Qatari intelligence, he told me in an interview Thursday. There are many channels who are biased, but this is past bias. Now al-Jazeera is a voice for terrorists. Fahmy s testimony is particularly important now. Al-Jazeera is at the center of a crisis ripping apart the Arab Gulf states. Earlier this month Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain imposed a political and diplomatic blockade on Qatar. Al-Jazeera has been kicked out of those countries. The treatment of al-Jazeera as an arm of the Qatari state as opposed to a news organization does not sit well with many in the West. A recent New York Times editorial accused Qatar s foes of muzzling a news outlet that could lead citizens to question their rulers in the Arab world. In some ways it s understandable for English-speaking audiences to take this view. Al-Jazeera s English-language broadcasts certainly veer politically to the left. At times the channel has sucked up to police states. The channel embarrassed itself with such fluff as a recent sycophantic feature on female traffic cops in North Korea. But al-Jazeera English has also broken some important stories. It worked with Human Rights Watch to uncover documents mapping out the links between Libyan intelligence under Moammar Gadhafi and the British and U.S. governments. Al-Jazeera s Arabic broadcasts, however, have not met these same standards in recent years. To start, the network still airs a weekly talk show from Muslim Brotherhood theologian Yusuf al-Qaradawi. He has used his platform to argue that Islamic law justifies terrorist attacks against Israelis and U.S. soldiers. U.S. military leaders, such as retired Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, who commanded forces in the initial campaign to stabilize Iraq, have said publicly that al-Jazeera reporters appeared to have advance knowledge of terrorist attacks. Fahmy told me he has learned that instructions were given to journalists not to refer to al-Qaida s affiliate in Syria, al-Nusra, as a terrorist organization.
He said Qatar s neighbors were justified in banning al-Jazeera. Al-Jazeera has breached the true meaning of press freedom that I advocate and respect by sponsoring these voices of terror like Yusuf al-Qaradawi, he said. If al-Jazeera continues to do that, they are directly responsible for many of these lone wolves, many of these youth that are brainwashed. Fahmy didn t always have this opinion of his former employer. He began to change his views while serving time. It started in the scorpion block of Egypt s notorious Tora prison. During his stay, he came to know some of Egypt s most notorious Islamists. When I started meeting and interviewing members of the Muslim Brotherhood and their sympathizers, they specifically told me they had been filming protests and selling it to al-Jazeera and dealing fluidly with the network and production companies in Egypt associated with the network, he said. One example of al-Jazeera s coordination with the Muslim Brotherhood revolves around Muslim Brotherhood sit-ins in the summer of 2013, following the military coup that unseated Mohammed Mursi, the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated president. Fahmy took testimony from a former security guard for the network and the head of the board of trustees for Egyptian state television. Both testified that members of the Muslim Brotherhood seized the broadcast truck al-Jazeera used to air the sit-ins that summer. In other words, al-Jazeera allowed the Muslim Brotherhood to broadcast its own protests. That happened in the weeks before Fahmy was hired to be the network s Cairo bureau chief. He says he was unaware of these ties to the Muslim Brotherhood until he began doing his own research and reporting from an Egyptian prison. When Fahmy learned of these arrangements, he said, he became angry. It undermined his case before the Egyptian courts that he was unaffiliated with any political party or terrorist groups inside Egypt. To me this is a big deal, this is not acceptable, he said. It put me in danger because it s up to me to convince the judge that I was just doing journalism. Fahmy was released from prison in 2015, but not because al-Jazeera s lawyers made a good case for him. Rather, it was the work of human rights lawyer Amal Clooney, who eventually got him to Canada. Now Fahmy is pressing a court in British Columbia to hear his case against the network, from whom he is seeking $100 million in damages for breach of contract, misrepresentation and negligence. Fahmy s case is one more piece of evidence that the al-Jazeera seen by English-speaking audiences is not the al-Jazeera seen throughout the Muslim world. It s one more piece of evidence that Qatar s foreign policy is a double game: It hosts a military base the U.S. uses to fight terror, while funding a media platform for extremists.
Rosie Willard Smith, 71, of Newbern, passed away on Friday, June 23, 2017 at Dyersburg Manor Nursing Center. She was born on September 16, 1945 in Dyer County, TN, to the late Robert M. Willard and the late Lillie Mae Bradley Willard. Rosie was a retired security guard for Colonial Rubber and was a member of Midway Baptist Church. She loved to read and to make quilts. Services were held at 12 p.m. Monday in the chapel of Dyersburg Funeral Home with the Rev. Don Williams officiating. Burial was in Dyer County Memorial Gardens.
The family received visitors from 11 a.m.-12 p.m. Monday at Dyersburg Funeral Home. Survivors include her two sisters, Charlene Hinson of Dyersburg and Bonnie Fay Bane and husband, Joe, of Pacific, MO; a brother, Huston Willard and wife, Jeanene, of Kaiser, WA; and a bunch of nieces and nephews. In addition her parents, she was preceded in death by her two sisters, Odessell McDowell and Christine Grizzle; and three brothers, Darrell Willard, Ross Willard and LeRoy Willard.
Judith R. Davis, 74, of Baldwyn, Mississippi, died Monday, June 26, 2017 at North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo, Mississippi. Funeral arrangements for Mrs. Davis will be announced by Johnson-Williams Funeral Home.
Sue Hartsfield, of Newbern, Tennessee , died Monday at her residence. Funeral arrangements for Mrs. Hartsfield will be announced by Johnson- Williams Funeral Home.
Cynthia Renee Haws, 48, of Tiptonville, passed away on Sunday at Tennova Healthcare Dyersburg Regional. Memorial services will be at 1 p.m. Tuesday at Power House Church of God in Tiptonville. Dyersburg Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements.
Valencia (Val) Montgomery Hudson, age 50 of Tiptonville, died Saturday, June 24, 2017 at Baptist Memorial Hospital in Memphis. Funeral arrangements are incomplete and will be announced later by McCreight Funeral Home.
Two wanted criminals in the north of Pretoria were caught on Sunday in a team effort by police, a security firm and CPF. In the early hours of Sunday, Guard Net Security Services, Sinoville CPF and police caught the two Mozambican men suspected of preying on residential complexes in Montana the past few weeks. Jeandr Venter, Guard Net Security portfolio manager, said he called the Sinoville CPF for assistance in apprehending the criminals who had gained entry into Bougainvillea Security Estate.
CPF responded in literally seconds with police short on their heels. We kept an eye on the suspects on a 24/7 live stream camera system to make sure they don t escape, said Venter.
The unbelievable effort and team work could only mean success. An hour later a search team of about 20 members found the two criminals in a thick bushveld between Bougainvillea Security Estate and Twee Riviere Lifestyle Estate Village One and Two.
Venter said the thieves gained entry into security estate after they had cut through the electric fence surrounding the estate.
Our security members on the inside scared them off and they fled back into the veld where we made the arrest, he said. Venter said the thieves had been spotted on security cameras a few times before their arrest and had been plaguing residents in the area. The two criminals were taken to Sinoville police station and will appear in court soon.
Guard Net Security would like to thank all professional security officers at Bougainvillea Security Estate and Twee Riviere Lifestyle Estate Village Two, said Venter.
We especially thank the CPF members. Your assistance is highly appreciated. Thank you for your efforts to keep the community safe.
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