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Nagorno-Karabakh: Information war and competing media narratives – Al Jazeera English

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REPORTER’S NOTEBOOK

While international media focuses on the fighting, it is a conflict largely seen and read through official tweets, Facebook posts and emails.

Tbilisi, Georgia – Nagorno-Karabakh is today uniquely isolated in more ways than one.

From Azerbaijan, it should easily be reachable from the capital, Baku. But there is no way through the armies stationed on the front lines, separated in some places by not more than a few hundred metres of no man’s land, encamped in a vast network of impenetrable trenches and surrounded by minefields.

When I last travelled there to cover an outbreak in hostilities in April 2016, an asphalt road from Armenia deteriorated the closer we approached the territory. It was a tense, bone-jarring ride.

Some of the roads have since been resurfaced thanks to a more youthful and less corruption-prone government in Yerevan, but that first sight of the “Black Garden” is no less alluring – a forested mountain range sloping down to meadows and plains baked yellow in the fierce heat of summer.

The region is geographically isolated, but so too are its people – isolated from the narrative.

There are fewer than 150,000 people living in Karabakh (today almost exclusively ethnic Armenian).

There are tens of thousands of Azerbaijanis exposed in farmsteads and villages along Azerbaijan’s side of the so-called line of control. And in Armenia, there are thousands of villagers close to the border with Azerbaijan.

We are talking about the people not wearing military uniforms – all vulnerable to the heavy weaponry now being deployed.

They are the civilians referred to in a daily headcount of casualties, or those who have escaped with their lives but have seen their homes peppered by shrapnel, roofs blasted off, or walls reduced to masonry rubble.

They are those who have endured the threat of all-out war for decades, living through sporadic cross-border violence, mortars, missiles and sniper fire, making it often impossible to go out and farm their fields in safety.

And they are the hundreds of thousands of Azerbaijanis and Armenians suffering from the trauma of exile. As many as a million people are refugees or internally displaced people from the inter-ethnic conflict over Karabakh in the 1990s and the ghastly pogroms in the Azerbaijani SSR as the Soviet Union was collapsing.

Reaching Karabakh and the people who live in and around it was never easy. The pandemic has deterred newsrooms from dispatching journalists to travel.

Now their human stories risk being drowned out by officialese. A sterile terminology thrives, the language of security bloc acronyms and geopolitics, spouted by presidents and ministers, spokespeople, and us, the reporters too.

The international media focuses its attention once again on the fighting, but it is a conflict for now largely seen and read through official tweets, Facebook posts and emails.

We watch through cameras mounted on military drones and hilltop high magnification lenses. The videos depict tanks, anti-aircraft defences and personnel carriers disappearing in puffs of smoke.

Young recruits barely out of school are human beings too, but pixelated or hidden inside this war machinery.

Monopolised messaging

Some claims are a distraction. Azerbaijan says foreign fighters are assisting Armenian forces. Armenian officials claim Syrian mercenaries are already imposing Islamic law in Azerbaijani villages.

At the time of writing, fewer than 48 hours since the latest fighting began, none of it – yet – is independently verifiable.

Official sources have monopolised the messaging. And internet restrictions in Azerbaijan have stifled conversations between its citizens on social media.

Much of the official messaging seems vainglorious – Azerbaijan’s defence minister describes the liberation of occupied lands as a “sacred duty”.

An Armenian tweet shows a pious priest brandishing a Kalashnikov.

Controlling the narrative and the media obscures the human suffering. The pandemic, the geography and the information war make it all the more difficult to penetrate the isolation of Nagorno-Karabakh.

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Stalker who set up 61 social media accounts to harass victim is jailed – Yahoo Canada Sports

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George Coughlan has been jailed for 21 months (Picture: SWNS)George Coughlan has been jailed for 21 months (Picture: SWNS)

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George Coughlan has been jailed for 21 months (Picture: SWNS)

An “extreme stalker” who set up 61 social media accounts to harass his victim has been jailed. 

George Coughlan used 19 fake Instagram profiles to bombard the woman with abuse.

The 33-year-old also hacked into the victim’s CCTV system to spy on her at home and was caught when he sent her a video showing her relaxing in her own living room.

The victim, who knew Coughlan, called police and he was arrested on 29 February this year.

Police seized his phone and discovered between last December and February he had sent hundreds of messages to the woman.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Read more: Police shut down wedding and Airbnb house party” data-reactid=”37″>Read more: Police shut down wedding and Airbnb house party

Some of the threatening messages George Coughlan sent to the victim (Picture: SWNS)Some of the threatening messages George Coughlan sent to the victim (Picture: SWNS)

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Some of the threatening messages George Coughlan sent to the victim (Picture: SWNS)

In one sinister message, he told her: “I will mek it my dying breath to mek ur life end too. And his.

“On the baby’s graves n my dadsa grave. That’s how much I mean it now. F***in dead to me.

“N u will be f***ed soon now. U will av nothin (sic).”

When the victim blocked Coughlan’s messages from one account, he issued a sinister warning using the profile name whymekitworse.

He added: “Uv av to do it don’t ya. Ok u blocked me once that’s it.

“I’m tekkij to the next step. Expect a visit. I ay even say in wen (sic).”

Police discovered he had searched phrases including “log into iCloud without verification” and “free mobile phone tracker without user knowing”.

Coughlan also researched phone spyware to track SMS messages, calls, social apps and GPS movements.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Read more: Fake coronavirus marshals stealing from homes after conning their way inside” data-reactid=”66″>Read more: Fake coronavirus marshals stealing from homes after conning their way inside

Some of the threatening messages George Coughlan sent to the victim (Picture: SWNS)Some of the threatening messages George Coughlan sent to the victim (Picture: SWNS)

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Some of the threatening messages George Coughlan sent to the victim (Picture: SWNS)

Coughlan, of Wolverhampton, admitted stalking involving serious alarm and distress.

On Friday he was jailed for 21 months at Wolverhampton Court and handed a five-year restraining order banning him from contacting the victim.

Inspector Cate Webb-Jones, of West Midlands Police Public Protection Unit said: “Stalking is a serious crime, an invasion of someone’s privacy, and as we’ve seen with this case can result in a significant jail term.

“Coughlan went to extreme lengths to exert control and intrude on his victim’s life.

“It was hugely upsetting and she was living day by day in fear. It’s simply not acceptable.

“Social media and easily accessible technology, such as spyware to track mobile phones, is giving stalkers more tools to harass victims and potentially put them in more danger.”

<h2 class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Coronavirus: what happened today” data-reactid=”93″>Coronavirus: what happened today

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Stalker who set up 61 social media accounts to harass victim is jailed – Yahoo Canada Sports

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 on


George Coughlan has been jailed for 21 months (Picture: SWNS)George Coughlan has been jailed for 21 months (Picture: SWNS)

View photos

George Coughlan has been jailed for 21 months (Picture: SWNS)

An “extreme stalker” who set up 61 social media accounts to harass his victim has been jailed. 

George Coughlan used 19 fake Instagram profiles to bombard the woman with abuse.

The 33-year-old also hacked into the victim’s CCTV system to spy on her at home and was caught when he sent her a video showing her relaxing in her own living room.

The victim, who knew Coughlan, called police and he was arrested on 29 February this year.

Police seized his phone and discovered between last December and February he had sent hundreds of messages to the woman.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Read more: Police shut down wedding and Airbnb house party” data-reactid=”37″>Read more: Police shut down wedding and Airbnb house party

Some of the threatening messages George Coughlan sent to the victim (Picture: SWNS)Some of the threatening messages George Coughlan sent to the victim (Picture: SWNS)

View photos

Some of the threatening messages George Coughlan sent to the victim (Picture: SWNS)

In one sinister message, he told her: “I will mek it my dying breath to mek ur life end too. And his.

“On the baby’s graves n my dadsa grave. That’s how much I mean it now. F***in dead to me.

“N u will be f***ed soon now. U will av nothin (sic).”

When the victim blocked Coughlan’s messages from one account, he issued a sinister warning using the profile name whymekitworse.

He added: “Uv av to do it don’t ya. Ok u blocked me once that’s it.

“I’m tekkij to the next step. Expect a visit. I ay even say in wen (sic).”

Police discovered he had searched phrases including “log into iCloud without verification” and “free mobile phone tracker without user knowing”.

Coughlan also researched phone spyware to track SMS messages, calls, social apps and GPS movements.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Read more: Fake coronavirus marshals stealing from homes after conning their way inside” data-reactid=”66″>Read more: Fake coronavirus marshals stealing from homes after conning their way inside

Some of the threatening messages George Coughlan sent to the victim (Picture: SWNS)Some of the threatening messages George Coughlan sent to the victim (Picture: SWNS)

View photos

Some of the threatening messages George Coughlan sent to the victim (Picture: SWNS)

Coughlan, of Wolverhampton, admitted stalking involving serious alarm and distress.

On Friday he was jailed for 21 months at Wolverhampton Court and handed a five-year restraining order banning him from contacting the victim.

Inspector Cate Webb-Jones, of West Midlands Police Public Protection Unit said: “Stalking is a serious crime, an invasion of someone’s privacy, and as we’ve seen with this case can result in a significant jail term.

“Coughlan went to extreme lengths to exert control and intrude on his victim’s life.

“It was hugely upsetting and she was living day by day in fear. It’s simply not acceptable.

“Social media and easily accessible technology, such as spyware to track mobile phones, is giving stalkers more tools to harass victims and potentially put them in more danger.”

<h2 class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Coronavirus: what happened today” data-reactid=”93″>Coronavirus: what happened today

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Click here to sign up to the latest news and information with our daily Catch-up newsletter” data-reactid=”94″>Click here to sign up to the latest news and information with our daily Catch-up newsletter

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Social Media Buzz: Trump Casts Ballot, SpaceX Launch, McBroken – BNN

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(Bloomberg) — What’s buzzing on social media this morning:

A mask-wearing President Donald Trump cast his ballot in person in West Palm Beach, Florida, Saturday morning. “I voted for a guy named Trump,” he told reporters.

Brooklyn Museum is trending as people share photos of long lines, hours before early voting started in New York state.

SpaceX is targeting to launch Starlink this morning after delaying it from Oct. 22 to allow more time for mission assurance work. The weather today is 60% favorable, the company said in a tweet. Projected launch time is 11:31 a.m. EDT.

Former Fox News host and Trump loyalist Kimberly Guilfoyle, who was recently accused of sexual harassment, put her Manhattan apartment overlooking Central Park up for sale for about $5 million, Daily Mail reported. The pad, formerly “a taxidermist’s dream,” was transformed by Guilfoyle, who dates Donald Trump Jr., the president’s son.

A McDonald’s fan, who earlier failed to order an ice cream due to an out-of-service machine, created a website called McBroken.com to track which locations’ McFlurry machines are broken. The fast-food chain said it’s “exciting to see customer passion translate into customer-innovated solutions.”

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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