Thursday, February 12, 2015

The Terms of Ukraine's Cease-Fire - Stratfor: "The signing of the new Minsk agreement, as well as Russian President Vladimir Putin's direct participation in the negotiations, points to the Kremlin's willingness to at least partially de-escalate the conflict at this time. The agreement includes some vague measures and conditions that all sides may ultimately chose not to implement. Several key points of contention remain unaddressed, and there are still many opportunities for the agreement to break down if they are not resolved. Therefore, political will, rather than the actual terms of the agreement, will determine whether a significant de-escalation is to take place."



The Terms of Ukraine's Cease-Fire

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Following marathon talks in Minsk that lasted more than 17 hours, the leaders of Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine reached an agreement that appears to align with the Kremlin's demands. The document calls for a cease-fire to begin Feb. 15, the withdrawal of weapons and the enactment of constitutional reforms in Ukraine. Though Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has denied that the agreement includes provisions for the creation of autonomous regions or the federalization of Ukraine, the document on the whole does fulfill several of the Kremlin's long-standing demands with regards to the status of Donbas.
The new cease-fire agreement is based largely on the original one that went into effect Sept. 5. It focuses on the withdrawal of heavy artillery systems, which have been prominent throughout the conflict, within 14 days of the cease-fire's implementation. The new cease-fire requires these artillery systems to be withdrawn far beyond their maximum effective ranges, a move that will create a buffer to prevent escalation and heavy artillery fire on the demarcation line. Missing from the agreement, however, is a decision on the fate of the still heavily contested Ukrainian positions in Debaltseve. Because both sides will have to withdraw their artillery systems, the result will be a very deep area without artillery cover in the center of the demarcation line.
The agreement's most important impact on the military balance is its requirement to withdraw foreign forces and mercenaries from Ukraine. Separatists have depended heavily on the combat power of the Russian military and Russian volunteer forces. Without these, the separatists would have been incapable of repelling the Ukrainian offensive, and in the future would be rendered much weaker than their Ukrainian counterparts.
The signing of the new Minsk agreement, as well as Russian President Vladimir Putin's direct participation in the negotiations, points to the Kremlin's willingness to at least partially de-escalate the conflict at this time. The agreement includes some vague measures and conditions that all sides may ultimately chose not to implement. Several key points of contention remain unaddressed, and there are still many opportunities for the agreement to break down if they are not resolved. Therefore, political will, rather than the actual terms of the agreement, will determine whether a significant de-escalation is to take place.

Globe In Kiev: Ceasefire deal seen as just another victory for Putin

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On the surface, the ceasefire deal reached to calm the fighting in eastern Ukraine is a triumph of diplomacy over force, a potential stepping stone toward a fuller peace agreement in this war-battered country.
But in the Ukrainian capital, many see only another triumph for Russian President Vladimir Putin, a diplomatic gain to match those that Kremlin-backed rebels have achieved on the ground in recent weeks.

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The language of the deal agreed to Thursday in the Belarusian capital of Minsk is little different from a ceasefire that Mr. Putin and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko signed in the same city last September. The last Minsk ceasefire lasted a matter of either days or hours, depending on how you measure the violations.
The primary accomplishment of the September deal in Minsk – hailed at the time by Mr. Poroshenko as a “permanent ceasefire” – was to take the wind out of a North Atlantic Treaty Organization summit that began the following day in Wales. Suddenly, statements about the alliance’s unity in confronting Russia had to be watered down to make supportive mention of the ceasefire.
This time, the ceasefire, negotiated in the presence of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President François Hollande, comes just as debate is heating up in the United States and Canada about whether to supply weapons to an outmatched Ukrainian army. If the deal holds even for a short while, that debate might quickly cool.
In the meantime, anyone looking for signs that this deal wouldn’t last much longer than the last Minsk pact didn’t have to look far: Ukraine reported that 50 tanks and 40 multiple-launch rocket systems crossed from Russia into Ukraine on Wednesday, even as the leaders were bargaining in Belarus.
This is how what many call Russia’s “hybrid war” in Ukraine is waged – a thrust on the military front, followed by a parry on the diplomatic front. On the information front, Kremlin-owned media hail a breakthrough in Minsk, while denying there are any Russian soldiers in Ukraine who need to be withdrawn, which is one of the key terms of the deal. Russia is taking a beating on the economic front, but Mr. Putin is betting Ukraine’s much faster collapse – and Europe’s own economic struggles – will force the other side to blink before he does.
The body language of the leaders after 17 hours of talks said at least as much as anything they said or signed.
Mr. Putin emerged first from the negotiations, looking relaxed and upbeat. He joked that while the marathon negotiations hadn’t been “the best night in my life,” he said it was “a good morning because we have agreed on many things.” The other leaders came out later, and sounded more concerned than celebratory.
Indeed, the deal appears to cement the gains the Russian-backed rebels have made on the ground in recent weeks, including the capture of Donetsk airport and the encirclement of the strategic town of Debaltseve, with Mr. Putin suggesting that the Ukrainian troops still in Debaltseve itself should withdraw before the ceasefire takes hold. The current front line, or whatever it is by midnight on Saturday local time, is the line from which Ukrainian troops will have to pull their heavy weaponry back.
Like the September agreement, this Minsk deal suggests that Donetsk and Lugansk will be given special autonomous status within Ukraine, effectively placing the Donetsk and Lugansk regions – which have declared themselves independent “people’s republics” – outside the control of the government in Kiev, while assigning Kiev to resuming paying for social services in those regions.
Rebel leader Alexander Zakhachenko was delighted with the deal, calling it “a great victory for the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Lugansk People’s Republic.”
But much of what else the two sides have agreed on was left unclear by the some of the same fuzzy language used in the first, failed Minsk deal.
The new pact calls for the disarmament of all “illegal armed groups” without naming them. To the Ukrainian side, that language clearly means that the pro-Russian rebels should disarm. The Kremlin would say it means the volunteer battalions that have proved the most effective fighters on the Ukrainian side.
The most important – and least detailed – point in the Minsk deal is a clause calling for a “new constitution to come into effect by the end of 2015, the key element of which is decentralization.”
Russia has been pushing for Ukraine to be remade into a federal state, something along the lines of Bosnia-Herzegovina, with Donetsk and Lugansk given the power to veto foreign policy decisions by the government in Kiev. In effect, the Kremlin is seeking a tool to block any future Ukrainian attempt to join the European Union or NATO.
Mr. Putin said the new constitution needs to “take into consideration the legitimate rights of people who live in [Donetsk and Lugansk].”
Mr. Poroshenko – who is in for a political battle at home over any constitutional changes – was left tweeting assurances that he had not capitulated to the Kremlin’s demands. “Ukraine will always be a unitary state. No federalisation whatsoever!” he wrote.
Nor were Ms. Merkel and Mr. Hollande smiling after the Minsk talks. Ms. Merkel, who worries that sending Western arms to Ukraine would provoke greater Russian intervention – and perhaps even a widening of the war, said there was now a “glimmer of hope,” but that she was under “no illusions” about the deal’s chances for success.
The U.S. administration was similarly skeptical. “The true test of today’s accord will be in its full and unambiguous implementation, including the durable end of hostilities and the restoration of Ukrainian control over its border with Russia,” the White House said in a statement.
Meanwhile, the debate about arming Ukraine just got even more complicated. Almost a year after this new style of conflict began with Russia’s snap annexation of Crimea (a word not mentioned in the Minsk deal), the West is still looking for a hybrid war strategy of its own.
Read the whole story

· · · ·

Top U.S. commander says he is offering options on Afghan drawdown - YouTube

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Published on Feb 12, 2015
Testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, General John Campbell, the commander of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan (ISAF) says he has provided his chain of command with options for troop drawdown in 2015. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).



FBI director Comey: 'law enforcement is not the root cause' of police and race problems. Comey also called for an overhaul of the “ridiculous” way the FBI and police collect and share information, saying “data seems like a dry and boring word” but without it law enforcement cannot understand the reasons behind arrests, shootings and deaths. The director tried to strike a middle ground between critics of the police and law enforcement, saying “I am not willing to let law enforcement off the hook” and also that police are “overwhelmingly doing the right thing and making the right choices.” - The Guardian



FBI Dir.: US at 'Crossroads' on Race Relations - AP


Published on Feb 12, 2015
FBI Director James Comey says the country is at a crossroads on matters of race relations and law enforcement. (Feb. 11)


FBI director Comey: 'law enforcement is not the root cause' of police and race problems – as it happened - The Guardian

James Comey speech is first time sitting director has broached race relations and community policing
Remarks invoke deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson and NYPD officers
Defends police while calling for reform
‘A host of problems will not be solved by body cameras’

We’re going to wrap coverage of FBI director James Comey’s speech on race and policing with a summary of its key points below.

Comey defended police, saying “law enforcement is not the root cause,” of the problems of racism and inequality that pervade the US.

He argued that all Americans – including police, minority communities and especially the majority of white Americans – must not “roll up their windows, turn up the radio and drive around these problems.”

The FBI director urged police to “get out of their cars, both literally and figuratively,” and build stronger relationships with people in the communities they patrol. He called for greater empathy for both minority communities and police officers, saying “it’s hard to hate close up.”

Comey also called for an overhaul of the “ridiculous” way the FBI and police collect and share information, saying “data seems like a dry and boring word” but without it law enforcement cannot understand the reasons behind arrests, shootings and deaths.

He argued in favor of better training of police in both militarized equipment and overcoming “unconscious biases” toward other races. About the equipment, he said “it’s not about the stuff,” but conceded that some departments lacked training and discipline.

The director tried to strike a middle ground between critics of the police and law enforcement, saying “I am not willing to let law enforcement off the hook” and also that police are “overwhelmingly doing the right thing and making the right choices.”


FBI director James Comey on race – full text: 
'America isn’t easy. America takes work'

The director of the FBI spoke at Georgetown University about the often dysfunctional relationship between law enforcement and people of color. Here’s the full text of his speech

Thursday 12 February 2015 12.24 EST

Thank you for inviting me to Georgetown University. I am honored to be here. I wanted to meet with you today to share my thoughts on the relationship between law enforcement and the diverse communities we serve. Like a lot of things in life, that relationship is complicated. Relationships often are.

Beautiful Healy Hall—part of this building—was named after this great university’s 29th President—Patrick Francis Healy. Healy was born into slavery, in Georgia, in 1834. His father was an Irish immigrant plantation owner and his mother, a slave. Under the laws of that time, Healy and his siblings were considered to be slaves. Healy is believed to be the first African-American to earn a Ph.D., the first to enter the Jesuit order, and the first to be president of Georgetown University or any predominantly white college.

Given Georgetown’s remarkable history, and that of President Healy, this struck me as an appropriate place to talk about the difficult relationship between law enforcement and the communities we are sworn to serve and protect.

With the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, the death of Eric Garner in Staten Island, the ongoing protests throughout the country, and the assassinations of NYPD Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, we are at a crossroads. As a society, we can choose to live our everyday lives, raising our families and going to work, hoping someone, somewhere, will do something to ease the tension—to smooth over the conflict. We can turn up the music on the car radio and drive around these problems.

Or we can choose to have an open and honest discussion about what our relationship is today—what it should be, what it could be, and what it needs to be—if we took more time to better understand one another.

Current Issues Facing Law Enforcement

Unfortunately, in places like Ferguson and New York City, and in some communities across the nation, there is a disconnect between police agencies and many citizens—predominantly in communities of color.

Serious debates are taking place about how law enforcement personnel relate to the communities they serve, about the appropriate use of force, and about real and perceived biases, both within and outside of law enforcement. These are important debates, and every American is free to express an informed opinion—to protest peacefully, to convey frustration and even anger in a constructive way. That’s what makes our democracy great. Those conversations—as bumpy and uncomfortable as they can be—help us understand different perspectives and better serve our communities. Of course, these are only conversations in the true sense of the word if we are willing not only to talk but to listen, too.

I worry that this important and incredibly difficult conversation about race and policing has become focused entirely on the nature and character of law enforcement officers, when it should also be about something much harder to discuss. Debating the nature of policing is a very important thing, but I worry that it has become an excuse to avoid doing something harder.

The Hard Truths

Let me start by sharing some of my own hard truths:

First, all of us in law enforcement must be honest enough to acknowledge that much of our history is not pretty. At many points in American history, law enforcement enforced the status quo, a status quo that was often brutally unfair to disfavored groups. It was unfair to the Healy siblings and to countless others like them. It was unfair to too many people.

I am descended from Irish immigrants. A century ago, the Irish knew well how American society—and the police—viewed them: as drunks, ruffians, and criminals. Law enforcement’s biased view of the Irish lives on in the nickname we still use for the vehicle that transports groups of prisoners; it is, after all, the “paddy wagon.”

The Irish had tough times, but little compares to the experience on our soil of black Americans. That experience should be part of every American’s consciousness, and law enforcement’s role in that experience—including in recent times—must be remembered. It is our cultural inheritance.

There is a reason I require all new agents and analysts to study the FBI’s interaction with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and to visit his memorial in Washington as part of their training. And there is a reason I keep on my desk a copy of Attorney General Robert Kennedy’s approval of J. Edgar Hoover’s request to wiretap Dr. King. The entire application is five sentences long, it is without fact or substance, and is predicated on the naked assertion that there is “communist influence in the racial situation.” The reason I do those things is to ensure that we remember our mistakes and that we learn from them.

One reason we cannot forget our law enforcement legacy is that the people we serve cannot forget it, either. So we must talk about our history. It is a hard truth that lives on.

A second hard truth: Much research points to the widespread existence of unconscious bias. Many people in our white-majority culture have unconscious racial biases and react differently to a white face than a black face. We all—white and black—carry various biases around with us. I am reminded of the song “Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist” from the Broadway hit, Avenue Q:

Look around and you will find
No one’s really color blind.
Maybe it’s a fact
We all should face
Everyone makes judgments
Based on race.

You should be grateful I did not sing that.

But if we can’t help our latent biases, we can help our behavior in response to those instinctive reactions, which is why we work to design systems and processes that overcome that very human part of us all. Although the research may be unsettling, what we do next is what matters most.

But racial bias isn’t epidemic in those who join law enforcement any more than it is epidemic in academia or the arts. In fact, I believe law enforcement overwhelmingly attracts people who want to do good for a living—people who risk their lives because they want to help other people. They don’t sign up to be cops in New York or Chicago or L.A. because they want to help white people or black people. They sign up because they want to help all people. And they do some of the hardest, most dangerous policing to protect people of color.

But that leads me to a third hard truth: something happens to people in law enforcement. Many of us develop different flavors of cynicism that we work hard to resist because they can be lazy mental shortcuts. For example, criminal suspects routinely lie about their guilt, and the people we charge are overwhelmingly guilty. That makes it easy for folks in law enforcement to assume that everybody is lying and that no suspect, regardless of their race, could be innocent. Easy, but wrong.

Likewise, police officers on patrol in our nation’s cities often work in environments where a hugely disproportionate percentage of street crime is committed by young men of color. Something happens to people of good will working in that environment. After years of police work, officers often can’t help but be influenced by the cynicism they feel.

A mental shortcut becomes almost irresistible and maybe even rational by some lights. The two young black men on one side of the street look like so many others the officer has locked up. Two young white men on the other side of the street—even in the same clothes—do not. The officer does not make the same sinister association about the two white guys, whether that officer is white or black. And that drives different behavior. The officer turns toward one side of the street and not the other. We need to come to grips with the fact that this behavior complicates the relationship between police and the communities they serve.

So why has that officer—like his colleagues—locked up so many young men of color? Why does he have that life-shaping experience? Because he is a racist? Why are so many black men in jail? Is it because cops, prosecutors, judges, and juries are racist? Because they are turning a blind eye to white robbers and drug dealers?

The answer is a fourth hard truth: I don’t think so. If it were so, that would be easier to address. We would just need to change the way we hire, train, and measure law enforcement and that would fix it. We would then go get those white thugs we have been ignoring. But the truth is significantly harder than that.

The truth is that what really needs fixing is something only a few, like President Obama, are willing to speak about, perhaps because it is so daunting a task. Through the “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative, the President is addressing the disproportionate challenges faced by young men of color. For instance, data shows that the percentage of young men not working or not enrolled in school is nearly twice as high for blacks as it is for whites. This initiative, and others like it, is about doing the hard work to develop violence-resistant and drug-resistant kids, especially in communities of color, so they never become part of that officer’s life experience.

So many young men of color become part of that officer’s experience because so many minority families and communities are struggling, so many boys and young men grow up in environments lacking role models, adequate education, and decent employment—they lack all sorts of opportunities. A tragedy of American life—one that most citizens are able to drive around because it doesn’t touch them—is that young people in “those neighborhoods” too often inherit from that dysfunction a legacy of crime and prison. And with that inheritance, they become part of a police officer’s life, and shape the way that officer—whether white or black—sees the world. Changing that legacy is a challenge so enormous and so complicated that it is, unfortunately, easier to talk only about the cops. And that’s not fair.

Let me be transparent about my affection for cops. When you dial 911, whether you are white or black, the cops come, and they come quickly, and they come quickly whether they are white or black. That’s what cops do, in addition to all of the other hard and difficult and dangerous and frightening things that they do. They respond to homes in the middle of the night where a drunken father, wielding a gun, is threatening his wife and children. They pound up the back stairs of an apartment building, not knowing if the guys behind the door they are about to enter are armed, or high, or both.

I come from a law enforcement family. My grandfather, William J. Comey, was a police officer. Pop Comey is one of my heroes. I have a picture of him on my wall at the FBI, reminding me of the legacy I’ve inherited and must honor.

Pop was the child of immigrants. When he was in the sixth grade, his father was killed in an industrial accident in New York. Because he was the oldest, he dropped out of school so that he could go to work to support his mom and younger siblings. He could never afford to return to school, but when he was old enough, he joined the Yonkers (New York) Police Department.

Over the next 40 years, he rose to lead that department. Pop was the tall, strong, silent type, quiet and dignified, and passionate about the rule of law. Back during Prohibition, he had heard that bootleggers were running beer through fire hoses between Yonkers and the Bronx.

Now, Pop enjoyed a good beer every now and again, but he ordered his men to cut those hoses with fire axes. Pop had to have a protective detail, because certain people were angry and shocked that someone in law enforcement would do that. But that’s what we want as citizens—that’s what we should expect. And so I keep that picture of Pop on my office wall to remind me of his integrity, and his pride in the integrity of his work.

Law enforcement ranks are filled with people like my grandfather. But, to be clear, although I am from a law enforcement family, and have spent much of my professional life in law enforcement, I’m not looking to let law enforcement off the hook. Those of us in law enforcement must re-double our efforts to resist bias and prejudice. We must better understand the people we serve and protect—by trying to know, deep in our gut, what it feels like to be a law-abiding young black man walking on the street and encountering law enforcement. We must understand how that young man may see us. We must resist the lazy shortcuts of cynicism and approach him with respect and decency.

We must work—in the words of New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton—to really see each other. Perhaps the reason we struggle as a nation is because we’ve come to see only what we represent, at face value, instead of who we are. We simply must see the people we serve.

But the “seeing” needs to flow in both directions. Citizens also need to really see the men and women of law enforcement. They need to see what police see through the windshields of their squad cars, or as they walk down the street. They need to see the risks and dangers law enforcement officers encounter on a typical late-night shift. They need to understand the difficult and frightening work they do to keep us safe. They need to give them the space and respect to do their work, well and properly.

If they take the time to do that, what they will see are officers who are human, who are overwhelmingly doing the right thing for the right reasons, and who are too often operating in communities—and facing challenges—most of us choose to drive around.

One of the hardest things I do as FBI Director is call the chiefs and sheriffs in departments around the nation of officers killed in the line of duty to express my sorrow and offer the FBI’s help. Officers like Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, two of NYPD’s finest who were gunned down by a madman who thought his ambush would avenge the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. I make far too many calls. And, there are far too many names of fallen officers inscribed on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial and far too many more names being added each year.

Officers Liu and Ramos swore the same oath all in law enforcement do, and they answered the call to serve the people, all people. Like all good police officers, they moved toward danger, without regard for the politics or passions or race of those who needed their help—knowing the risks inherent in their work. They were minority police officers, killed while standing watch in a minority neighborhood—Bedford-Stuyvesant—one they and their fellow officers had rescued from the grip of violent crime.

Twenty years ago, Bed-Stuy was shorthand for a kind of chaos and disorder in which good people had no freedom to walk, shop, play, or just sit on the front steps and talk. It was too dangerous. But today, no more, thanks to the work of those who chose lives of service and danger to help others.

Yet despite this selfless service—of these two officers and countless others like them across the country—in some American communities, people view the police not as allies, but as antagonists, and think of them not with respect or gratitude, but with suspicion and distrust.

We simply must find ways to see each other more clearly. And part of that must involve collecting and sharing better information about encounters between police and citizens, especially violent encounters.

Not long after riots broke out in Ferguson, I asked my staff to tell me how many people shot by police were African-American. They couldn’t, and it wasn’t their fault. Demographic data regarding officer-involved shootings is not consistently reported to us through our Uniform Crime Reporting Program. Because reporting is voluntary, our data is incomplete and therefore, in the aggregate, unreliable.

I recently listened to a thoughtful big city police chief express his frustration with that lack of reliable data. He said he didn’t know whether the Ferguson police shot one person a week, one a year, or one a century, and that in the absence of good data, “all we get are ideological thunderbolts, when what we need are ideological agnostics who use information to try to solve problems.” He’s right.

The first step to understanding what is really going on in our communities is to gather more and better data related to those we arrest, those we confront for breaking the law and jeopardizing public safety, and those who confront us. “Data” seems a dry and boring word but, without it, we cannot understand our world and make it better.

How can we address concerns about “use of force” policies and officer-involved shootings if we do not have a firm grasp on the demographics and circumstances of such incidents? We simply must improve the way we collect and analyze data to see the true nature of what’s happening in all of our communities.

The FBI tracks and publishes the number of “justifiable homicides” by police officers. But, again, reporting by police departments across the country is voluntary and not all departments participate. That means we cannot fully track the number of incidents in which force is used by police, or against police, including non-fatal encounters, which are not tracked at all.

Without complete and accurate data, we are left with “ideological thunderbolts” that spark unrest and distrust. That does not help us get better. Because we must get better, I intend for the FBI to be a leader in urging departments around the country to give us the facts we all need for informed discussion and to make sound policy.

* * *

America isn’t easy. America takes work. Today is Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. He spoke at Gettysburg about a “new birth of freedom” because we spent the first four score and seven years of our history with fellow Americans held as slaves—President Healy, his siblings, and his mother among them. We have spent the 150 years since Lincoln spoke making great progress, but along the way treating a whole lot of people of color poorly. And law enforcement was often part of that poor treatment. That’s our inheritance as law enforcement and it is not all in the distant past.

We must account for that inheritance. And we—especially those of us who enjoy the privilege that comes with being the majority—must confront the biases that are inescapable parts of the human condition. We must speak the truth about our shortcomings as law enforcement, and fight to be better. But as a country, we must also speak the truth to ourselves. Law enforcement is not the root cause of problems in our hardest hit neighborhoods. Police officers—people of enormous courage and integrity, in the main—are in those neighborhoods, risking their lives, to protect folks from offenders who are the product of problems that will not be solved by body cameras.

We simply must speak to each other honestly about these hard truths.

In the words of Dr. King, “We must learn to live together as brothers or we will all perish together as fools.”

We all have work to do—hard work, challenging work—and it will take time. We all need to talk and we all need to listen, not just about easy things, but about hard things, too. Relationships are hard. Relationships require work, but they are worth it. So let’s begin. It is time to start seeing one another for who and what we really are. Peace, security, and understanding are worth the effort.


james comey - Google Search

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    Veteran CBS “60 Minutes” correspondent Bob Simon, for more than four decades one of America’s most respected journalists, was killed in a crash Wednesday night after his limo driver lost control of the vehicle on the West Side Highway.

    021115accident13CS
    Veteran CBS “60 Minutes” correspondent Bob Simon, for more than four decades one of America’s most respected journalists, was killed in a crash Wednesday night after his limo driver lost control of the vehicle on the West Side Highway.
    The Lincoln Town Car in which Simon, 73, was riding collided with a Mercedes-Benz, then veered across the roadway and plowed into a pedestrian expansion near West 30th Street at about 7 p.m., according to law enforcement sources.
    The driver of the Mercedes – identified as 23-year-old Zachery Miller – said the black car was veering erratically before the crash.
    “He swerved into me,” said the 23-year-old Mercedes driver, a resident of New Rochelle. “He hit me and he looked like he lost control of the car.”
    Simon was taken to Roosevelt Hospital in Midtown, where he died.
    The Town Car was so badly mangled, rescuers had to pry open the roof to extract him from the rear of the car.
    Simon, a Bronx native, was found unresponsive with head and stomach injuries, cops said.
    The 44-year-old Lincoln driver – identified as Reshad Abdul Fedahi – was treated by first responders for a possible heart attack, according to police sources. He also had two broken legs, a busted right arm and tested negative for booze, law enforcement sources said.
    It was not clear if Fedahi actually suffered a heart attack, nor was it immediately clear if he was stricken before or after the crash.
    His car was owned by Travez Transportation Inc., based in Long Island City.
    Fedahi had two moving violations and nine cleared suspensions on his record.

    CBS' Bob Simon dies in NYC car crash

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    Video Keywords Brandeis University foreign service officer tragic loss Hudson River Bronx New York
    Plenty of people are sad to see 'Daily Show' host Jon Stewart go, but this could mean exciting changes for late-night TV. USA TODAY's Arienne Thompson thinks it's high time for some nonwhite, female diversity in the after-hours talk-show space.(DAILY DISH, USA TODAY)
    Video Transcript
    Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)
    00:01 Legendary CBS news correspondent Bob Simon died Wednesday night in00:05 a car crash in New York City he was 73. Simon00:09 was a longtime correspondent for sixty minutes. As award winning career00:12 spanned more than 45 years through major overseas conflicts since the00:17 1960s. CBS New York City affiliate reported the crash took place00:22 on the city's west side highway alongside the Hudson River. Authorities00:25 say Simon was the passenger in a car that lost control00:28 and slammed into another vehicle. CBS news vice president Chris licht00:32 called the Simon a true legend. And said the tragic loss00:36 of Bob Simon is heartbreaking news for the entire CBS family.00:40 Simon joined CBS news in 1967. After serving three years as00:45 an American foreign service officer. He is originally from Bronx New00:49 York in graduate from Brandeis University as a historic nature.
    Bob Simon of "60 Minutes," attends the New York premiere of "The Railway Man" in New York, April 7, 2014.(Photo: AP/Andy Kropa, Invision)
    The outpouring of sympathy and support for the family of CBS News correspondent Bob Simon continued Thursday, hours after the longtime newsman was killed in a car crash.
    Simon, correspondent for 60 Minutes, was riding on New York's West Side Highway in a for-hire Lincoln Town Car when the crash took place shortly before 7 p.m. ET, according to CBS. The southbound car lost control, hit a Mercedes-Benz stopped at a red light and then struck the median, CBS reported.
    Emergency responders found Simon unconscious in the backseat with injuries to his head and stomach, CBS said. He was pronounced dead at St. Luke's Roosevelt Hospital Center.
    The driver was listed in stable condition at another hospital, and no charges had been filed.
    The driver of the Mercedes – identified as 23-year-old Zachery Miller – told the New York Post the black car was veering erratically before the crash.
    "He swerved into me," said the 23-year-old Mercedes driver, a resident of New Rochelle. "He hit me, and he looked like he lost control of the car."
    A shaky-voiced Scott Pelley, anchor of CBS Evening News, announced Simon's passing on the air shortly before 10 p.m. ET, offering condolences on the part of the network to Simon's family.
    CBS News President David Rhodes issued a statement calling Simon "a giant of broadcast journalism, and a dear friend to everyone in the CBS News family. We are all shocked by this tragic, sudden loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with Bob's extended family and especially with our colleague Tanya Simon."
    Tanya Simon, Bob Simon's daughter, is a producer at 60 Minutes.
    "It's a terrible loss for all of us at CBS News," 60 Minutes Executive Producer Jeff Fager said in a statement. "It is such a tragedy made worse because we lost him in a car accident, a man who has escaped more difficult situations than almost any journalist in modern times.
    Simon's distinguished career included 40 days in an Iraqi prison, a time that Fager described Wednesday night as an "incredibly difficult situation to get through." Upon his release, a bearded, gaunt Simon described a harrowing situation in which he was spit at and tortured.
    Longtime "60 Minutes" correspondent Bob Simon died in a car crash in New York on Wednesday. He was 73. Simon covered riots, Academy Award-nominated movies and wars and was held captive for more than a month in Iraq two decades ago. (Feb. 12) AP
    Fager said it was ironic that Simon would face threatening situations around the world over the years only to die after a car accident right in New York. The executive described Simon as a fun person to be around who had a natural curiosity.
    "If I said, 'You know what, Bob, I have a really good story and it's halfway around the world,' he'd be on its way before you knew what it was about," Fager said.
    Simon's award-winning career spanned five decades and took him from Japan to Egypt, and from Vietnam to Paraguay, according to CBS.
    Officials survey the scene of an accident following a collision in New York, Wednesday that killed veteran "60 Minutes" correspondent Bob Simon. (Photo: Kathy Willens, AP)
    People who knew Simon expressed shock and sadness Wednesday evening.
    Political commentator Brit Hume tweeted: "So sad to see Bob Simon, who went to so many hard & dangerous places & had so many close calls in his career, killed in a car NY crash. RIP"
    Ava DuVernay, director of the movie Selma, tweeted, "Stunned. We spent time together on my 60 Minutes piece just a few weeks ago. My goodness. May God rest his soul."
    CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin tweeted, "Bob Simon represented the very best in television news. His death is a tragedy."
    Former CBS News executive Paul Friedman praised Simon for his talent and professionalism.
    "Bob was one of the finest reporters and writers in the business," said Friedman, who teaches broadcast writing at Quinnipiac University. "He, better than most, knew how to make pictures and words work together to tell a story, which is television news at its best."
    Simon joined CBS News in New York in 1967 after serving three years as an American Foreign Service officer.
    The Bronx native graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Brandeis University as a history major. He is survived by his wife, Francoise, and daughter, Tanya.
    Bob Simon attends the CBS Upfront presentation in New
    "60 Minutes" correspondent Bob Simon died at the age of 73 in a car accident involving the cab he was riding in New York City, Wednesday. Here Simon is seen at a CBS presentation in New York City on May 19, 2010. (Photo: Peter Kramer, AP)
    Bob Simon of "60 Minutes," attends the New York premiere of "The Railway Man" in New York, April 7, 2014. (Photo: AP/Andy Kropa, Invision)
    Here Simon attends the premiere screening of "Faces of America With Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr." in New York Feb. 1, 2010. (Photo: Evan Agostini, AP)
    Officials survey the scene of an accident following a collision in New York, Wednesday that killed veteran "60 Minutes" correspondent Bob Simon. (Photo: Kathy Willens, AP)
    A New York City Policeman stands next to the crashed livery cab "60 Minutes" correspondent Bob Simon was traveling in. (Photo: Jason Szenes, epa)
    A New York City Policeman stands next to the crashed livery cab. (Photo: Jason Szenes, epa)
    A view of the crashed livery cab in which Bob Simon was traveling. (Photo: Jason Szenes, epa)
    A police officer surveys the scene of the accident Wednesday, (Photo: Kathy Willens, AP)
    CBS News' Bob Simon died in a car accident Wednesday evening. (Photo: Tony Esparza, CBS)
    The correspondents for "60 Minutes II" are (clockwise beginning with seated) Dan Rather, anchor and managing editor, Vicki Mabrey, Charlie Rose and Bob Simon. (Photo: Tony Esparza, CBS)
    Bob Simon reporting for CBS News in 1991. (Photo: CBS)
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    Bob Simon of ’60 Minutes’ killed in car crash

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    SIMON
    Bob Simon poses on the roof of the CBS Broadcast Center in New York on March 5, 1999.
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    Simon embraces his wife, Francoise (right), and daughter Tanya (left) after he was freed from 40 days of imprisonment by Iraqi soldiers in 1991.
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    Simon (second from right) with his CBS crew in 1991.
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    Simon speaks with a news producer at the CBS Broadcast Center in 2010.
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    Makeup artist Riccie Johnson gets Simon ready for “60 Minutes” in 2014.
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    Simon is freed after he and three colleagues were captured by Iraqi soldiers in Kuwait and taken to Baghdad during the Gulf War. Simon, who was held for 40 days, was interrogated and beaten before he and his colleagues, who many believed were dead, were finally released.
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    Simon got a rare access to the monks who live in an ancient monastery on a remote Greek peninsula where life hasn’t changed for a thousand years.
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    Simon speaks to fellow “60 Minutes” correspondents Mike Wallace (left) and Steve Kroft.
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    Simon, Morley Safer and Jeff Greenfield attend a film screening in New York in 2010.
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    Handout of CBS News correspondent Bob Simon
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    Veteran CBS “60 Minutes” correspondent Bob Simon, for more than four decades one of America’s most respected journalists, was killed in a crash Wednesday night after his limo driver lost control of the vehicle on the West Side Highway.
    The Lincoln Town Car in which Simon, 73, was riding collided with a Mercedes-Benz, then veered across the roadway and plowed into a pedestrian expansion near West 30th Street at about 7 p.m., according to law enforcement sources.
    The driver of the Mercedes – identified as 23-year-old Zachery Miller – said the black car was veering erratically before the crash.
    “He swerved into me,” said the 23-year-old Mercedes driver, a resident of New Rochelle. “He hit me and he looked like he lost control of the car.”
    Simon was taken to Roosevelt Hospital in Midtown, where he died.
    The Town Car was so badly mangled, rescuers had to pry open the roof to extract him from the rear of the car.
    Simon, a Bronx native, was found unresponsive with head and stomach injuries, cops said.
    The 44-year-old Lincoln driver – identified as Reshad Abdul Fedahi – was treated by first responders for a possible heart attack, according to police sources. He also had two broken legs, a busted right arm and tested negative for booze, law enforcement sources said.
    It was not clear if Fedahi actually suffered a heart attack, nor was it immediately clear if he was stricken before or after the crash.
    His car was owned by Travez Transportation Inc., based in Long Island City.
    Fedahi had two moving violations and nine cleared suspensions on his record.
    Both the Lincoln and Mercedes were covered by insurance.
    Cops said Simon’s driver also suffered two broken legs and a broken arm. He, too, was taken to Roosevelt, where he was listed in stable condition.
    Simon, who lived on the Upper West Side, was traveling downtown to attend a seminar, source said.
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    Scene of the fatal crash involving CBS reporter Bob Simon.
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    Times Square spreads love, carnival costumes take over Venice, snow paralyzes New England and more.
    Miley Cyrus, Taylor Swift, Beyoncé and more of music's hottest stars hit the red carpet for the 2015 Grammy Awards.
    A newborn orangutan says hello to the world, a sheep poses for a selfie, President Barack Obama grins and more.
    President Barack Obama prays, a hedgehog predicts the weather, troops have a warm homecoming and more.
    Romance and rainbows abound in Spain, swans struggle with winter conditions, hearts warm up for World Cancer Day and more.
    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. For these body modification enthusiasts, that eye may be tattooed black and that beauty may include a lot of ink and a few implanted horns.
    An adorable furry friendship blooms, a real-life vampire makes an appearance and more.
    Storms strike Down Under, models strut in bizarre garb in Paris, double rainbows light up Zimbabwe and more.
    Someone shows off some sweet ink in Berlin, the Northeast recovers post-blizzard, a rare breed surfaces in the Philippines and more.
    Pandas play in the snow, President Barack Obama visits Saudi Arabia, the Northeast braves a blizzard and more.
    Simon, a former war correspondent, joined “60 Minutes” in 1996.
    CBS News President David Rhodes released a statement mourning the loss of his friend.
    “Bob Simon was a giant of broadcast journalism, and a dear friend to everyone in the CBS News family,” Rhodes said. “We are all shocked by this tragic, sudden loss.
    “Our thoughts and prayers are with Bob’s extended family, and especially with our colleague Tanya Simon.”
    Tanya, Simon’s daughter, is a producer for “60 Minutes.”
    Simon, who won 25 Emmy Awards, was working with Tanya on a segment about Ebola. It was scheduled to air this Sunday.
    Another of Simon’s colleagues, “CBS Evening News” anchor Scott Pelley, delivered an emotional special report Wednesday night.
    “We have some sad news from within our CBS News family,” Pelley said while appearing to fight back tears. “Our ‘60 Minutes’ colleague Bob Simon was killed this evening.”
    Simon, who joined the network in 1967, launched his career as a foreign correspondent while covering the Vietnam War from the London and Saigon bureaus.
    He was aboard one of the last helicopters out of Saigon in 1975, according to CBS.
    Simon also covered the Gulf War in 1991, when he and several members of a CBS News crew were captured by Iraqi forces and held hostage.
    They spent 40 days in an Iraqi prison, where they were interrogated and beaten with canes.
    Some of Simon’s notable recent reports included an interview with Iraqi insurgency leader Muqtada al-Sadr and coverage of Sudan, where thousands of people were displaced after the second civil war.
    In addition to his daughter, Simon is survived by his wife, Francoise, and grandson, Jack.
    Additional reporting by Michael Starr and Matt McNulty
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    Bob Simon, ‘60 Minutes’ Correspondent, Dies in Manhattan Car Crash at 73

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    Bob Simon, an award-winning CBS News correspondent whose career spanned nearly 50 years and many major world conflicts, was killed in a car crash in Manhattan on Wednesday, according to the network and the authorities. He was 73.
    Mr. Simon was a passenger in a livery cab that sideswiped a Mercedes-Benz sedan stopped at a red light on 12th Avenue near West 30th Street about 6:45 p.m., the police said. The cab then careened into the median, crashing into the metal stanchions separating the northbound and southbound traffic lanes. Mr. Simon was taken to Mount Sinai Roosevelt Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
    The 44-year-old livery-cab driver was taken to Bellevue Hospital Center with injuries to his legs and arms, the Fire Department said. The driver of the Mercedes-Benz was not injured, according to the police.
    The police said on Wednesday night that the accident was under investigation.
    Mr. Simon, who was in his 19th season as a correspondent for “60 Minutes,” won dozens of honors, including 27 Emmy Awards and four Peabody Awards, in a career that dated to the 1960s. He covered many major news events during the course of that career and, as a war correspondent, was captured by Iraqi forces near the Saudi-Kuwaiti border during the opening days of the Persian Gulf war in January 1991. He wrote about the experience in his 1992 memoir, “40 Days.” The title referred to the length of his captivity.
    He joined CBS News in 1967 as a reporter and assignment editor in New York covering unrest on college campuses, inner-city riots and the Democratic and Republican National Conventions. He found his niche as a war reporter covering the Vietnam War.
    He was based in Saigon and London from 1971 to 1977, and left Saigon on one of the last helicopters out of the city in 1975, CBS reported. He also covered conflicts in Northern Ireland and Portugal, as well as American military actions in Grenada, Somalia and Haiti.
    He was assigned to the CBS’s Tel Aviv bureau from 1977 to 1981, before moving to Washington as the network’s State Department correspondent from 1981 to 1982. He returned to New York as a national correspondent until 1987, when he returned to Tel Aviv as the network’s chief Middle East correspondent, CBS said.
    In 2000, Mr. Simon was recognized with a Peabody Award for “a body of work by an outstanding international journalist on a diverse set of critical global issues,” followed by an Emmy for lifetime achievement in 2003. He became a full-time correspondent for “60 Minutes” in 2005. He recently reported on the plight of Coptic Christians in Egypt, and earned his most recent Emmy for a story about an orchestra in Paraguay whose members made instruments out of trash.
    His latest contribution to “60 Minutes” aired over the weekend and was an interview with Ava DuVernay, the director of “Selma,” according to CBS.
    “It’s a terrible loss for all of us at CBS News,” Jeff Fager, executive producer of “60 Minutes,” said in a statement. “It is such a tragedy made worse because we lost him in a car accident, a man who has escaped more difficult situations than almost any journalist in modern times.”
    “Bob was a reporter’s reporter,” he said. “He was driven by a natural curiosity that took him all over the world covering every kind of story imaginable. There is no one else like Bob Simon. All of us at CBS News and particularly at 60 Minutes will miss him very much.”
    Mr. Simon was born on May 29, 1941, in the Bronx, and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Brandeis University in 1962 with a degree in history, according to his biography page on the CBS website. Before joining CBS, he worked as a Foreign Service officer from 1964 to 1967. He was also a Fulbright scholar in France and a Woodrow Wilson scholar.
    His survivors include his wife, Françoise, and their daughter, Tanya, who is a producer for “60 Minutes” in New York.
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