Thursday, June 17, 2010

Alive! Japanese reporter Tsuneoka confirmed captive of Talibans

Kosuke TSUNEOKA, journalist hostage in Kunduz province

Taliban militants have demanded that the Afghan government pay a ransom for a Japanese journalist who went missing in late March in northern Afghanistan. Negotiations are under way on a payment of several hundred thousand dollars for the release of Kosuke Tsuneoka, 40, according to Afghan security authorities. our colleague journalist being held captive after going missing in Afghanistan at the end of March. He has spoken to the Japanese daily, the Mainichi Shimbun in an interview, saying he is in good health.

A Taliban spokesman, Zabiullah Mujahid, acknowledged that 40-year-old Kosuke Tsuneoka had been abducted and was being held captive by a regional Taliban organization, which allowed the journalist to participate in a telephone interview.

"I'm in good health and I have no injuries," the freelance journalist said during the interview, which lasted for about 30 minutes. At times a man believed to be watching over Tsuneoka could be heard making what were believed to be orders.

Tsuneoka spoke in a settled tone. He said he was being confined in a room about the size of six tatami mats at a home with a courtyard. In the room, men armed with guns watched over him 24 hours a day. His only daily food was naan bread and one bowl of potato soup, but he said, "I haven't been ill in the stomach and I haven't been violently treated."

The organization that abducted Tsuneoka is an armed faction situated in Kunduz Province near the border with Tajikistan.

"It has about 100 people and it is the first time for it to carry out an abduction," Tsuneoka said. He said the place where he was being held was "in a place southeast" of the town of Imam Sahib.

Tsuneoka said he heard during conversations with members of the group that abducted him that the group was seeking 1 million dollars as a new condition for his release. However, he said that if officials gave in to the request the same sort of incident would be repeated.

The journalist situation has been a focus today at the FCCJ in Tokyo during a press conference with a Japanese politician, leader of a small conservative group. Takeo Hiranuma called for all efforts to be made for the liberation of this Japanese journalist citizen.

"Ex president Clinton went to North Korea to liberate two American hostages" Hiranuma stated.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who arrived in Japan on Wednesday for a five-day official visit, is said to have already instructed the authorities to speed up the release negotiations. According to the authorities, based on the negotiations conducted so far, Tsuneoka's life does not appear to be in danger. The authorities said that the Japanese government had been conducting the release negotiations through the Japanese Embassy in Kabul.

However, after the negotiations stalled due to a Taliban demand that a Taliban militant being held in neighboring Pakistan be released, the Afghan government took over in negotiating with the militants. The negotiations are being conducted by telephone, according to the authorities. The Japanese Embassy said it could not comment on the matter. In Tokyo, the Japanese government refused to make specific comments, with Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshito Sengoku telling reporters that Tokyo has yet to confirm the journalist was kidnapped...

There are 2 other known hostages in Afghanistan: two France 3 Television reporters. Afghan leaders called for release of journalists held hostages

At least 15 journalists were kidnapped by criminal groups or insurgents last year in Afghanistan. A total of 19 journalists have been killed in Afghanistan since 11 September 2001. Eleven of them were foreign. Five of them, including radio journalist Zakia Zaki, murdered 3 years ago, on 6 June 2007, were women.

Quotes: The Mainichi Shimbun
agencies, reporter's notes.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Amnesty for Thai Red Shirts?

Red shirt supporters gather outside the Criminal Court on Ratchadaphisek Road to try to block a bus from taking eight red shirt leaders and three security guards charged with terrorism to the Bangkok Remand Prison for further detention after they were denied bail on Tuesday.

A proposal to grant amnesty to Thai protesters who took part in recent anti-government rallies in violation of emergency rule is stirring controversy and highlighting the difficulty in reconciling a divided nation writes HS report today.

The proposal was made by Thailand's equivalent of the U.S. FBI, and followed a government call for reconciliation after the protests ended last month in riots, arson and clashes between soldiers and shadowy gunmen.

In all, 89 people were killed and about 2,000 wounded in the violence that raised fears for the stability and prospects for growth in Southeast Asia's second-biggest economy.

The red shirt protest movement is largely made up of rural and urban poor supporters of self-exiled former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, a former telecoms tycoon who was ousted in a 2006 military coup and later convicted of corruption.

Analysts say the government, which is opposed to Thaksin and his allies, has to tread carefully as it seeks to push ahead its reconciliation plan with any move being scrutinised and liable to criticism by one, or even both, sides. The Department of Special Investigation (DSI) said it was considering amnesty for rank-and-file protesters who violated the state of emergency imposed during the crisis.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said at the weekend there was no plan to negotiate with terrorists, adding: "But there is no plan to hunt down those who were peaceful."

Criminal Court on Tuesday denied bails for 11 red-shirts leaders charged with terrorism. Court said that the suspects could escape if they were granted bails.

Reporter's notes

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Pop songs and Girls' bands♫♪: the new weapon launched towards North Korea!

Girl's Generation

"This is the new weapon against North Korea reported by the South Korean daily "Chosun Ilbo" who printed June 14th and without a laughter that the South Korean Defense Ministry is apparently minded to use songs and music videos by girl bands such as Girls' Generation, Wonder Girls, After School, Kara and 4 minute in psychological warfare against the DPRK.

Do not underestimate these Lolitas, they are the new Psy-Ops lethal secret weapon of the free world against Machiavelli's of Pyongyang!

An official in charge of psy-ops at the Joint Chiefs of Staff said, "It will take months to set up the big screens to use in psychological warfare operations and a wide range of contents will be shown. I don't know whether songs by girl groups will be included, but there is that chance since pop songs were used in the past." The JCS official said he is unsure how effective the work of girl bands will be. But the revealing outfits worn by the performers and their provocative dances could have a considerable impact on DPRK soldiers."

Maybe Yon-sama (Bae Yong Joon) will also be used as a tool to seduce the DPRK's mammies? But Imagine...♪♬♯♪ what if, in a poisoned scheme, North Koreans female commandos currently rehearsing fight back, cross the 38th parallel towards South Korea with the sole mission to kick ROK's boys?

Someone! Call a doctor!

Sources: Chosun Ilbo, Nautilus Institute at the University of San Francisco Center for the Pacific Rim, California, USA. Nautilus Institute at Seoul, ROK. Reporter's notes.