Death of American Journalist Serena Shim Possibly an Intelligence Hit
Christof Lehmann (nsnbc) : Two days after the US American journalist of Lebanese origin, Serena Shim, said that Turkish intelligence had accused her of spying, she died in a car crash. Serena Shim would not be the first journalist who reports about the conflict in Syria and Iraq to be assassinated.
Serena Shim was working as correspondent for the State owned Iranian TV channel PRESS TV in Turkey. The TV channel reports on its website, that Shim told PRESS TV, two days before she died in a car accident, that Turkey’s intelligence service had accused her of spying and that she feared that she would be arrested.
On Sunday, her car collided with another vehicle when she was returning from an in situ report in Suruç, a rural district of Şanlıurfa Province of Turkey, reported PRESS TV.
While accidents happen, there is good reason to call for a full investigation into the circumstances of the accident. Shim would not be the first journalist who reports about the conflict in Syria and especially about Turkish and core NATO member states’ involvement in the war on Syria to be assassinated.
The Syrian journalist Maya Nasr, who reported for Al-Alam and PRESS TV from Syria was assassinated in Damascus in September 2012. Maya Nasr was among others involved in investigating whether the Turkish government or Turkey’s intelligence service MIT released al-Qaeda linked terrorism convicts from Turkish prisons to fight with insurgents in Syria.
Nasr informed nsnbc that he had seen several people among slain insurgents who should, actually, be detained in Turkish prisons. Passports recovered from slain insurgents showed, among others, that one of the slain fighters in Syria was the brother of the 2003 HSBC bomber from Istanbul.
Maya Nasr was shot and killed by a sniper when he was covering a terrorist bombing in Damascus. The assassins reportedly monitored Nasr’s Twitter and were aware that he would appear at the scene to cover the attack.
In May 2013, the Syrian journalist Yara Abbas was shot and killed by a sniper while she was reporting from a location near the Dabaa Air Base in the western part of Syria. Yara Abbas was working for the privately owned Syrian TV channel Al-Ikhbariya TV.
Senior Associate Fellow at Oxford’s St. Anthony College, political analyst, columnist, and nsnbc contributor Sharmine Narwani should have met Yara Abbas the day after her death.
Yara Abbas was on her way back to Damascus after she had been embedded with the Syrian Arab Army for nine days. Sharmine Narwani wrote a report about the killing of Abbas entitled “Yara Abbas – In her own words”.
Car accidents do occur, and journalists whose profession implies extensive traveling are more prone to traffic accidents than many others. Staged car accidents are, however, also part of the standard tool kit of intelligence agencies worldwide.
The death of yet another journalist who reports on Turkish – Syrian relations under suspicious or questionable circumstances calls for a full, and fully transparent investigation, including Serena Shim’s allegation that Turkey’s intelligence service had accused her of spying, and that she feared to be arrested.
Ch/L – nsnbc 20.10.2014
Editor’s note: Our condolences to the family and the loved ones of Serena Shim as well as to her colleagues at PRESS TV, and our continued support to the families, loved ones and colleagues of Maya Nasr, Yara Abbas, and any other journalist who is being murdered while or for executing his or her profession. The killing of journalists cannot stand. We express our unequivocal condemnation of the killing of any journalist, any where, under any circumstances, and issue our unequivocal support for a full and transparent investigation into the circumstances of the death of Serena Shim. – For nsnbc international, Christof Lehmann, Editor-in-Chief.