State Dept Estimates Almost 2 Years for FOIA Answers on American Reporter Murdered in Syria War
The U.S. Department of State estimates December 2017, almost 2 years, is the earliest it can complete WTF News’ Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request in relation to the murder of American reporter Serena Shim. WTF News submitted a FOIA request to the State Department to release information on the events before and after Serena Shim’s death in Turkey while she was reporting on Syria’s proxy war. The FOIA Requester Service Center noted State Department officials may need that time “due to various extenuating factors, which are beyond the control of the Branch” in response to a WTF News inquiry on the status of the case.
Serena Shim was an American citizen and a reporter for Iran’s Press TV who spent 3 years investigating Turkey’s role in the Syrian proxy war including aid to Al Qaeda groups and the Islamic State. She was killed on October 19, 2014 near the Turkey-Syria border while reporting on the battle of Kobani, which received significant coverage from international news organizations.
Two days before her death, Shim reported live on Press TV’s international broadcast that Turkish intelligence services, Millî İstihbarat Teşkilatı (MİT) accused her of being a spy, and they were tracking her to arrest her for questioning. Shim also reported that she was hiring a lawyer to represent her and that she intended to answer the intelligence agency’s questions.
Serena Shim also reported during the October 17 broadcast that she had evidence of Islamic State terrorists receiving help in the form of vehicles with the logo of the United Nations World Food Program, allowing the terrorists to cross the Turkey-Syria border without problems.
On October 19, the Turkish government then reported she was killed in a car crash which has been called suspicious by both journalists and government officials.
Shim and her cousin Judy Irish were reported to be hit by a truck after turning into the opposite lane on a highway access road, however Shim’s family has personal knowledge that the accident was manipulated by the Turkish government. The family notes that the government first stated they could not find the vehicle that hit Shim’s rental car. Later, the Turkish government claimed it was a cement truck and produced pictures.
Shim and Irish were taken to two different hospitals separated by more than 25 miles after the alleged accident. Shim was first reported dead at the scene but eventually was said to die of heart failure after a heart attack almost an hour later. Her family suspects she was taken to a secret military facility nearby before going to the hospital.
Shim had published multiple reports on Turkish military not fighting Al Qaeda and ISIS groups, while in many cases, allowing the terrorists to operate border crossings with Syria which were used to transport weapons and fighters. In a 2013 report called “Turkey’s Pivotal Role in Syria’s Insurgency”, Shim revealed that terrorist groups even had their own passport stamp for border crossings they controlled. She also published evidence that Al Qaeda groups were using refugee camps on the Turkey-Syria border to smuggle weapons and give fighters a home base.
For more information, read our October 2015 report and watch the trailer for the upcoming documentary.