Accuracy in Media

A journalist for Al-Jazeera has been arrested on suspicion of being an agent of the Palestinian terror group Hamas. The journalist, Samer Allawi, Al-Jazeera’s bureau chief in Afghanistan, is a Palestinian. He was apprehended by Israeli authorities as he attempted to leave the West Bank.

Meantime, Republican Rep. Ron Paul, a presidential candidate who has appeared on Al-Jazeera, has picked up the support of another foreign propaganda channel. In addition to getting major sympathetic coverage from Russia Today, which is funded by Moscow, the Texas congressman is getting rave reviews from Press TV, the channel funded by the Iranian regime. The latter has mostly to do with Paul’s declarations during the Iowa debate that he would not object to Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons. He also faulted the CIA for its alleged involvement in Iran in 1953 for bad relations with the current fanatical Islamic regime.

“We started it in 1953 when we sent in a coup, installed the shah, and the reaction—the blowback came in 1979.  It’s been going on and on because we just plain don’t mind our own business. That’s our problem,” he said.

The detention of Allawi, a major development in the media wars over the future of the Middle East, is not the first time that Israel has detained journalists from the channel. During the 2006 war in Lebanon, several Al-Jazeera journalists working in Israel were apprehended and warned about providing military information to Hezbollah, another terrorist organization. The accusation was that Al-Jazeera journalists were reporting the specific location of Hezbollah rocket strikes on Israel, enabling the terrorists to more accurately aim their weapons. In total, Hezbollah rained an estimated 3,970 Katyusha rockets and longer range missiles on military and civilian targets in Israel. The rockets have no internal guidance system and needed to rely on spotters or media coverage of their strikes to increase their accuracy.

This kind of activity earned the channel a lawsuit, filed by the Israel Law Center in the U.S., accusing Al-Jazeera of facilitating the deaths of Israeli and American victims of the war. Judge Kimba Wood dismissed the suit, claiming that the victims had failed to show Al-Jazeera had the specific intention of aiding Hezbollah.

Since its inception, however, Al-Jazeera has functioned as a mouthpiece for terrorist organizations, including but not limited to al-Qaeda. Tayseer Alouni, the channel’s Afghanistan correspondent during the 9/11 attacks, was apprehended by U.S. military authorities and turned over to Spain, his native country, where he was prosecuted, convicted, and jailed as an agent of al-Qaeda. Al-Jazeera defended him and paid his legal fees.

Similarly, the channel is defending Samer Allawi as an innocent victim of the Israelis who is being denied due process. So-called press freedom groups have either called for Allawi’s immediate release or a detailed explanation from Israel of why he is being detained.

Al-Jazeera says that Allawi is refusing to cooperate with the authorities interrogating him.

Critics of Al-Jazeera have called upon Rep. Peter King, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, to hold hearings on Al-Jazeera’s involvement with terrorist organizations and whether that activity qualifies the channel to be officially designated by the U.S. Government as a global terrorist entity that provokes violence against Americans and American interests.

Under such a designation, which has been applied to Al-Manar, an affiliate of Hezbollah, the channel could be banned from operating in the U.S. Al-Manar was labeled a global terrorist entity and banned from the U.S. in 2004.

Al-Manar is said to be the second most popular television channel in the West Bank and Gaza Strip after Al-Jazeera. Experts believe it to be financed by the government of Iran, which has also launched Press TV, a channel that, like Al-Jazeera, has production facilities in Washington, D.C.

Press TV contacted Accuracy in Media on Tuesday, looking for a guest for one of its programs to discuss why Republican Representative and presidential candidate Ron Paul is not getting more favorable attention from the U.S. media. Paul pleased the Iranian regime during the Iowa GOP debate by defending its pursuit of nuclear weapons.

AIM declined the invitation but considered the request as more evidence of how foreign propaganda channels, such as Russia Today and Press TV, have embraced the isolationist foreign policy views of the Texas congressman.

Press TV ran a story under the long headline, “Ron Paul Censures US policy on Iran.”  The propaganda channel had previously run a story about his remarks in the debate under the headline, “Ron Paul blasts US policy on Iran.”

In a “Quick Facts” entry, Press TV highlighted Paul’s views on Israel and the Middle East, noting that he opposed the raid to kill Osama bin-Laden and opposes U.S. aid to the Jewish state.

Three years ago Paul appeared on Al-Jazeera to talk about his views, which were described as “libertarian.” On the show, hosted by Riz Khan, Paul insisted that he advocated a “strong national defense.”


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