Syed Saleem Shahzad’s Last Interview

New York- The brief spotlight that the assassination of Asia Times Online’s Saleem Shahzad brought to the danger journalists face on a daily basis has faded here in the United States for now until the next tragedy. Here in New York, the philandering of absurdly egotistical, warring pro-Israel politicos is a lot sexier (though in no way actually sexy) in terms of ratings and other nonsense. I wanted to post this interview Shahzad did shortly before his death with the Canadian Real News Network. Shahzad speaks truth to power in this Skype interview which is exactly why I am putting it up as ‘the story has moved on’ which they love to say here in NYC. No stranger to controversy, Shahzad talks about the long trumped up notion of cleaving the Quetta shura from the FATA-based (or KP or Punjab?) AQ ¬†which much of Petraeus exit strategy for American forces in Afghanistan relies on. In this respect Shahzad is accidentally in line with Gates who said in 60 Minutes interview that it was too soon to tell if the killing of ObL was a ‘game changer.’ The killing of Shahzad will not be forgotten. Not in the journalism community and not by readers of Asia Times. Pakistanis now effectively have their own Anna Politikovskaya. Telling the truth in backward quasi-democracies like Pakistan and the Russian Federation can be a death sentence in an environment where human life often feels to have little value. Journalists like these are key torch bearers in damaged societies where it is a constant struggle to keep them relatively open. The next tier down in my un-calculated freedom index would be Burma and Turkmenistan and nobody wants that except for Than Shwe and Berdy.

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