AL-JAZEERA PROMOTES GLOBAL TERRORISM
In the same way that Al-Jazeera television has complicated the prospect of a U.S. victory in Iraq, the channel has dramatically increased the Islamic terrorist threat to Israel, helping to produce the war with the Hezbollah terrorist group.
The U.S. and Israel will not be able to win this global war on terrorism unless the role of Al-Jazeera in radicalizing Arabs and Muslims throughout the world is recognized and addressed.
As a result, Accuracy in Media is redoubling its effort to keep the English-language Al-Jazeera out of U.S. media markets. If Al-Jazeera International is allowed to reach English-speaking Arabs and Muslims in the U.S. with its incendiary messages, we could see suicide bombings on the streets of America and the development of more al-Qaeda cells plotting 9/11-type terrorist attacks.
But Al-Jazeera’s threat has taken another form, as Israeli authorities during the war with Hezbollah arrested several Al-Jazeera employees on suspicions of aiding the enemy. One charge was that Al-Jazeera employees in Israel were airing live footage from the scene of Hezbollah strikes in Israel, helping Hezbollah adjust the aim of the rockets it was firing. Another charge was that Al-Jazeera was filming sensitive locations which could be targeted in missile strikes.
Here, Al-Jazeera journalists have been caught visiting the U.S.-Canada and U.S.-Mexico border areas.
Al-Jazeera International made a visit in May to Crosby, North Dakota, prompting inquiries from the local Sheriff and U.S. Border Patrol. The local paper, the Crosby Journal, quoted a Border Patrol official as asking, “What is the interest of an Arab news organization in Crosby, North Dakota?” It reported that Sheriff Lauren Throntvei “said the hairs on the back of his neck stood up when he heard they were in town.” The paper said that a U.S. Border Patrol agent asked for the names of the Al-Jazeera journalists, whether they had been near the border, and their stated motivations. The agent “said there were potential international implications to the journalists’ visit, on which he could not elaborate.”
The Al-Jazeera International delegation claimed to be doing a positive story about the people of northwestern North Dakota. However, Al-Jazeera International is not yet on the air and may not be up and running until the fall.
The Minutemen group previously denounced an attempt by Al-Jazeera to visit the U.S.-Mexico border area as a “recon” operation to benefit those who want to illegally enter the U.S. A Minuteman spokesman called Al-Jazeera a “terrorist TV station.”
As the AIM “Terror Television” DVD demonstrates, the channel’s first managing director acted in effect as an agent of the Saddam Hussein regime. Al-Jazeera’s Baghdad bureau has been closed since August 2004 because of its sympathetic coverage of terrorist acts. The channel, however, is operating in the Kurdish-ruled area of the north and still broadcasts into Iraq. Indeed, it was reported recently that Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, during a visit to Kurdistan, refused to entertain questions from the Al-Jazeera correspondent, saying, “I told him that I will not reply because we have position against Al-Jazeera.” Al-Maliki added, “I blame my brothers in Kurdistan to allow Al-Jazeera to work although it is banned from that because it incites sectarianism day and night in Iraqi circles.” This statement reflects recognition that Al-Jazeera, like al Qaeda, has been trying to spark a civil war in Iraq.
In the broader Middle East, Al-Jazeera has been doing whatever it can to thwart a reasonable approach to a peace settlement. Despite a series of unilateral Israeli concessions, Al-Jazeera has provided what sympathetic observers call “intensive coverage” of the Palestinian cause. That means that its coverage has encouraged violence against Israel. Its “reporters” openly refer to Palestinian suicide bombers as “martyrs.” Honest Reporting, a media watchdog group, has documented how Al-Jazeera has run inflammatory articles on its website referring to President Bush giving the government of Israel a “license to kill” and suicide bombers as “self-sacrifice operations.”
Al-Jazeera has played a clear role in the rise of Hamas (the Islamic Resistance Movement) and its Palestinian election victory in January. From the start, Al-Jazeera has been accused of undermining Yasser Arafat’s Fatah movement in order to build up Hamas. Arafat even temporarily closed down the Al-Jazeera bureau in Ramallah after it aired an “unflattering image” of him. Fatah supporters in May burned three cars belonging to Al-Jazeera because the channel did not cover an anti-Hamas demonstration in the city.
As part of its pro-Hamas bias, Al-Jazeera in March broadcast a conference in Yemen where a supporter of al Qaeda praised Palestinian suicide bombers and called on the crowd to financially support Hamas. Coverage of this event is available at the website of the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), which monitors the media in that part of the world. Al-Jazeera in May aired a Hamas fundraising event in Gaza, where a jacket worn by the “martyred” former Hamas Chief Sheikh Salah Shehada was auctioned off. Shehada, who was responsible for hundreds of attacks on Israeli citizens and security forces, was killed by Israel in 2002.
Stories bashing Israel have to compete with the channel’s well-documented bias against America. In our DVD on “Terror Television,” we show some film footage of Al-Jazeera television staff in Ramallah in an anti-American demonstration chanting “Down with fascist America.”
Here, Al-Jazeera continues to promote conspiracy theories that Muslim terrorists were not really behind the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Al-Jazeera recently ran an article about a Los Angeles conference that viewed the 9/11 terrorist attacks as “an orchestrated U.S. attempt to incite world war.” One of the participants was identified as Webster Tarpley, who wrote a book, 9/11 Synthetic Terror: Made in USA. As the title implies, Tarpley insists that the terrorist attacks on New York City and the Pentagon were an example of “state-sponsored, false-flag terrorism,” undertaken by a faction of the U.S. Government in order to “start the war of civilizations.” Tarpley is a long-time associate of “anti-Zionist” and former Marxist activist Lyndon LaRouche, who himself has appeared on Al-Jazeera.
The Al-Qaeda Connection
Al-Jazeera knows this is a bunch of bunk because its own reporter Yosri Fouda interviewed the al-Qaeda architects of 9/11, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and Ramzi bin al-Shibh, and co-authored a book about it entitled Masterminds of Terror. Peter Maass wrote a fascinating story about Fouda’s contacts with al Qaeda in an article in the New York Times Magazine entitled “When Al Qaeda Calls.” Ron Suskind’s new book, The One Percent Doctrine, takes the story one step further, alleging that Fouda’s information about the possible locations of both al-Qaeda operatives led to their ultimate capture. Suskind claims the Emir of Qatar provided the information to then-CIA director George Tenet.
Insisting that it “never communicated any information that it has obtained to any political, security or any other party whatsoever,” Al-Jazeera has rejected Suskind’s claims as ridiculous and baseless. The channel said it was “well known for its editorial independence” and its “commitment to protect the rights of sources.” The implication, of course, is that some of Al-Jazeera’s “sources” are terrorists or their agents.
This is part of the problem we face as Al-Jazeera International, which is financed by the same Arab government which brought the world Al-Jazeera, prepares its launch. Even if the Suskind story is true, the capture of these al-Qaeda operatives cannot make up for the murder of almost 3,000 Americans on 9/11, especially because Qatar had links to al Qaeda and Khalid Shaikh Mohammed before 9/11. Today, however, the Wahhabi Muslim regime postures as a friend of the U.S. and hosts American forces.
Al-Jazeera International is busy constructing its new Washington, D.C. bureau on K Street in the nation’s capital. Employees say salaries and benefits are good, but former ABC Nightline anchor Ted Koppel, who interviewed for a job there, said he would have nothing to do with it. The new channel has put tremendous resources, including the public-relations muscle of the British-based firm Brown Lloyd James (BLJ), into a campaign to secure carriage on American cable and satellite systems. So far, AIM has stopped them.
Subscribers to the AIM Report received copies of postcards they could send to Michael Holtzman, BLJ executive vice president. The cards noted a report that $1 billion is being spent on Al-Jazeera International and asked, “How much of that is your firm getting?”
BLJ should not be underestimated. The company boasts that Holtzman, who is handling the Al-Jazeera International account in the U.S., “managed the successful global campaign on behalf of China’s bid to host the 2008 Olympic Games.” The company website says this “extraordinarily successful engagement” was named “Campaign of the Year” by PR Week in 2001.
If the entry of Al-Jazeera International into U.S. media markets becomes another “Campaign of the Year,” it is predictable and inevitable that Americans will suffer and die because of it.
Partners In Crime
But stopping Al-Jazeera Inter-national won’t be enough. As reported by Hugh Miles, Al-Jazeera has “sharing agreements” with CNN, ABC, NBC, Fox, Japan’s NHK, and Germany’s ZDF, “all of which regularly use Al-Jazeera’s footage and reports.” Miles, the author of a fascinating but sympathetic book about Al-Jazeera, makes this point in the context of insisting that “Journalists around the world treat Al-Jazeera with the same respect they treat news from any other major international news network.” What they “respect” is the ability of Al-Jazeera to get terrorist “news” from bin Laden and al Qaeda.
CNN was the first U.S.-based network to sign a “resource-sharing agreement” with Al-Jazeera. This relationship was on display when CNN aired part of an interview that Al-Jazeera’s then-Kabul-based reporter Tayseer Allouni had conducted with Osama bin Laden. This was described at the time as the only television interview bin Laden had granted since before 9/11. Allouni was later convicted of being an agent of al Qaeda and is now serving seven years in prison in Spain.
Al-Jazeera also has a sharing agreement with the Telesur channel of Venezuelan lunatic ruler Hugo Chavez.
Rep. Connie Mack had criticized the venture, saying, “When Hugo Chavez launched Telesur?to spread his anti-freedom rhetoric throughout Latin America I raised numerous concerns that he was creating a TV network patterned after Al-Jazeera. Today, Hugo Chavez has gone even further. It wasn’t enough for him to spread his socialist propaganda throughout Latin America. Now he’s in cahoots with the original terrorist TV.” Mack said the alliance “has the effect of creating a global television network for terrorists and other enemies of freedom.”
ROBERT NOVAK TOLD THE TRUTH
The Washington Post on July 9 published an article, “When in Doubt, Publish,” which began by saying that, “It is the business?and the responsibility?of the press to reveal secrets.” It was signed by five major figures involved in the field of journalism education. In fact, however, it attempted to justify the publication of some?but not all?”secret” information. In the process of trying to sound like guardians of the public’s right to know, they disclosed their preference for keeping the American people in the dark about what the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee says is a major faction of the CIA that is deliberately subverting the foreign policy of the Bush Administration.
While the New York Times’ violation of the law barring publication of classified communications intelligence information was justified by these titans of modern-day American journalism, there was said to be “no justification” at all for conservative columnist Robert Novak to have written a column identifying Valerie Plame as a “covert CIA officer.” Claiming she had been “unmasked” by Novak, they implied that her employment status in the agency was a closely held secret and that revealing this information about her was a major threat to the national security of the U.S.
The signers of the Post column were Geoffrey Cowan, dean of the Annenberg School for Communication, University of Southern California; John Lavine, dean, Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University; Nicholas Lemann, dean, Graduate School of Journalism, Columbia University; Orville Schell, dean, Graduate School of Journalism, University of California at Berkeley; and Alex S. Jones, director of the Shorenstein Center, Harvard University.
The Times is being excused for compromising secret programs to apprehend terrorists, while Novak was excoriated for writing about a CIA employee working a desk job and running a “front” company.
In contrast to the conduct of the Times, which disclosed a highly classified NSA program in clear violation of Section 798 of Title 18 of the U.S. Code, Novak’s publication of Valerie Plame’s name and affiliation with the CIA was not a violation of the law. The law which drove the investigation of the case did not apply to Novak, who was simply passing on information from administration officials about her role in getting her husband Joseph Wilson sent on a CIA mission to Africa. The law covered those who deliberately exposed a CIA officer’s secret identity for the purpose of damaging U.S. intelligence. That was not the case here, and no charges in that regard have been filed.
Novak’s Public Service
Novak, who has now come forward to explain why he wrote his column, should be praised, not criticized, for bringing forth information that is still critically important to understanding the nature of the Wilson mission and the rogue CIA elements behind it. It is a story that we still need to know if U.S. intelligence agencies are to remain under the clear control of elected officials.
As strange as it may seem, the erroneous claim about Plame’s “covert” status at the CIA appears to have been taken from transcripts of the Chris Matthews MSNBC Hardball show, whose correspondent, David Shuster, had erroneously predicted that White House aide Karl Rove would be indicted for his role in talking to Novak and allegedly “outing” Plame. Shuster was also responsible for the completely unsubstantiated claim that Plame was a top agency operative on the trail of Iran’s nuclear weapons program.
Her supposed intelligence “cover,” like the Rove indictment predicted by Shuster, was a figment of the liberal imagination. There was at least one thing truly secret about her, however. Wilson had desperately wanted her role in getting him on that trip kept confidential. That’s why he raised it in his book, The Politics of Truth, saying it would be a violation of federal nepotism laws if she had played such a role, and then categorically denied that she had done so. This preemptive strike was his way of discouraging the press from unraveling the pretense that he was an objective observer who simply uncovered the facts about the Bush Iraq policy and was retaliated against for innocently providing them to the Times. Unfortunately for Wilson and his CIA backers, the Senate Intelligence Committee found documents proving that Plame did play a role in the Wilson junket.
On the same day the Post article attacking Novak’s public-service journalism was published, the New York Times inadvertently revealed the thinking of a top member of Congress, with access to the most sensitive information about U.S. intelligence activities, on the significance of the Wilson/Plame affair.
The Rogue Agency
The Times reported that Rep. Peter Hoekstra, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, had sent a private letter to President Bush about a range of intelligence issues. Predictably, The Times focused on a vague reference in the letter to secret programs that Hoekstra had wanted Congress to be briefed on. The Times thought this was proof that the administration was running illegal programs, a favorite theme of the liberal media in their zeal to discredit Bush.
But the Hoekstra letter was quite specific about what is going on in the CIA. The Times article, however, did not highlight that part of the letter in which Hoekstra referred to events in the Valerie Plame affair as the result of “a strong and well-positioned group” within the CIA that “intentionally undermined the Administration and its policies.” Readers of the on-line Times were able to read the whole letter, which was posted on the paper’s website. The Hoekstra letter also refers to Stephen Kappes returning to the CIA as Deputy Director when it is believed that he “may have been part” of the group that was determined to sabotage the Bush Administration.
The real story, suggested by Hoekstra, is that CIA officials were behind Wilson’s visit to Africa, and that the purpose of his trip was to come back and discredit the President’s well-documented claim that Saddam Hussein had sought uranium there.
For her part, Plame had contributed to the Al Gore-for-president campaign through her CIA “front” company and would surface as a financial contributor to the Kerry-for-President campaign through a group called America Coming Together. Her husband would sign up as a Kerry adviser. All of these developments would confirm what had been suspected by the Bush Administration. The Africa trip and Times op-ed were part of an obvious plan by partisan political forces in the CIA to sabotage the President’s Iraq policy.
The Hoekstra letter is terribly important if we are going to begin to have any understanding of how our democratic republic has been subverted by intelligence officials operating outside of our elected government.
What You Can Do
Send the enclosed cards or cards and letters of your own choosing to Qatar’s Ambassador to the U.S. and “Angry Arab” blogger As’ad AbuKhalil. Also, please consider a contribution to AIM as we move ahead with our campaign against Al-Jazeera.