Terror Television: The Rise of Al-Jazeera and the Hate America Media
Produced by Roger Aronoff of Accuracy in Media. Writer and Narrator: Cliff Kincaid, editor, AIM Report.
Hello my name is Cliff Kincaid. I'm editor at Accuracy in Media. Thank you for watching our presentation on Terror Television: The Rise of Al-Jazeera and the Hate America Media.
The scene: pre-war Iraq. Al-Jazeera's managing director Mohammed Jassem al-Ali meets with Saddam's son Uday. This dramatic video tape, recorded by the Saddam Hussein regime, was obtained after the liberation of Iraq and aired by alhurrah television. Jassem al-Ali had told Uday Hussein, "My mission at al-Jazeera is to serve Iraq, the country that has had so much to do with the success of the station."
(Excerpts of alhurrah video).
Uday Hussein recalled that Mohammed Jassem Al-ali had told him that "Al Jazeera is your channel."
Al-Ali was sacked in 2003, though, when Britain's Sunday Times said documents discovered in Iraq showed that Iraqi agents had been working for al-Jazeera, and that Al-ali had been personally targeted by Iraqi intelligence. But after the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime, U.S. officials say Al-Jazeera continued to work hand-in-glove with the terrorists in Iraq, including the remnants of the regime. The new Iraqi government banned the channel, saying it was a "mouthpiece of terrorist and criminal groups" and that its coverage served to justify kidnappings and killings.
Retired Army officer and columnist Ralph Peters is blunt, calling their correspondents "Killers with Cameras." He has written that "Al-Jazeera is so consumed by hatred of America and the West that the network would rather see Iraq collapse into a bloodbath than permit the emergence of a democracy sponsored by Washington."
Why has the war in Iraq been so difficult? One reason is that U.S. officials did not realize how damaging Al-Jazeera would be. An NBC News report by Lisa Myers noted that Saudi terrorists captured in Iraq said they came to Iraq to kill Americans "because of pictures on Arab television network Al-Jazeera."
(Video of captured terrorists saying they came to Iraq to kill Americans because of what they saw on Al-Jazeera and other channels).
Al Qaeda number two, Ayman Al-Zawahiri, said in a captured letter that more than half of the war in Iraq was being fought, not on the military battlefield, but in the media.
One Al-Jazeera employee, Sami Al Haj, was captured on the battlefield of Afghanistan and sent to the prison at Guantanamo Bay. Tyseer Alouni, who ran the channel's bureau in Kabul, Afghanistan, was arrested, tried and convicted in Spain, on charges of being an agent of al Qaeda. When Alouni was sentenced to seven years in prison, an al Qaeda Internet broadcast expressed solidarity with him and attacked the "Crusader Infidel Spanish court."
(Al-Qaeda Internet broadcast on Alouni).
In the Hugh Miles book on al Jazeera, published before Alouni was actually convicted and sentenced, Miles admits that if the Spanish judge in the case was right -- that Alouni indeed was "an al-Qaeda mole" -- then his reporting "might have been the voice of al-Qaeda." "If al-Qaeda had penetrated Al-Jazeera at such a senior level," he warned, "it would be a serious blow to the channel." Al-Jazeera, he said, was paying Alouni's salary, legal fees and "related expenses" during his trial.
But rather than being a serious blow to its future, Al-Jazeera is expanding, preparing to launch an English-language channel, Al-Jazeera International, into American media markets.
Al Jazeera was created in 1996, the same year bin Laden declared war on America, with money from the Qatari government, an Arab monarchy and one of the richest Gulf states. Its state religion is Sunni Muslim, as interpreted by the dangerous Wahhabi order.
After 9/11, Al Jazeera became notorious for airing al Qaeda videos and was labeled bin Laden's favorite TV channel. Bruce B. Lawrence, author of a book about bin Laden, says, "Bin Laden could not have achieved global prominence without audiocassettes, the Internet, and satellite television, especially Al-Jazeera."
Now Al-Jazeera International wants to be carried in U.S. and Western media markets.
When Al Jazeera sought entry into the Canadian media market, it was accused of providing a platform for hate-mongers, terrorists, anti-Semitism and even holocaust denial. One example was a show where the host read emails describing Jews as "the sons of apes and pigs" and urging "a true holocaust that will exterminate" them "at once." Al Jazeera has featured interviews with David Duke, the white racist who recently made a solidarity visit to Syria, and Lyndon LaRouche, the convicted swindler and political extremist. The channel features a sheik who endorses suicide bombings. And its correspondents call these killers "martyrs."
One of the groups supporting Al Jazeera was the Canadian affiliate of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. Paul Sperry, author of the blockbuster book Infiltration, points out that CAIR entered into a "Deed of Trust" -- contract -- with the Al-Maktoum Foundation of the United Arab Emirates, the UAE, which put up the nearly $1 million for its property in Washington, D.C. Sperry called the UAE government CAIR's "benefactor." CAIR specializes in driving critics of Islam off talk radio. For example, Michael Graham was fired from WMAL- radio in Washington, D.C. for offending the Council.
Al-Jazeera's friends include the website "Friends of Al-Jazeera," which ran an item comparing the channel to "the great Sheikh Ben Zayed Centre," also based in Qatar, which they say "was closed down after exposing the reality of 9/11…" That "reality," according to the center's website, was that the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, D.C. were planned and orchestrated by the U.S. military and blamed on the Muslim world.
(Article shown on "Why Paris is Burning.")
The scene: arson and riots in France. One spark, according to journalist Arnaud de Borchgrave, was Al Jazeera, reaching the "hoods" – or neighborhoods -- in "Europe's Muslim and sub-Saharan Africa suburbs." Columnist Mark Steyn called it the start of the "Eurabian civil war."
We saw another phase when European newspapers came under attack for printing print controversial cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed. One showed him wearing a time bomb-shaped turban. Their publication provoked riots, violence and death through the Arab/Muslim world.
The Dish satellite network already carries the Arabic Al-Jazeera into some American homes. But with an English-language Al Jazeera, Arab- and Muslim-Americans who do not speak Arabic but understand English would be exposed to its incendiary messages. An English Al Jazeera could spread the mayhem and madness to America itself.
(Newspaper clip of Muslim who attacked students in North Carolina).
Consider the case of Mohammed Reza Taheri-azar, an Iranian who deliberately drove an SUV into a crowd of students in North Carolina, in order to "avenge the deaths of Muslims around the world." Cases like this could multiply once Al-Jazeera International starts broadcasting into the U.S. The next time, the SUV could be a suicide bomb.
From Glasgow to Detroit, writes Hugh Miles, whose book about Al Jazeera is sympathetic, there are plenty of young Arabs and Muslims who don't speak Arabic but who might be receptive to the English-language Al Jazeera. He says it may also find a big audience in Asia, "where many more people speak English than Arabic."
The U.S. Government recognizes the danger. Miles was told by a State Department official that "we believe in freedom of the press but this" – referring to Al Jazeera – "isn't the press." The Al Jazeera agenda, this official said, is "to incite…It is equivalent to shouting fire in a crowded theater every single day. It's very much a tabloid and I think it increases the odds of [terrorist] acts."
But in order to create the impression that it has become a professional news organization, big bucks are being showered on big names in the media.
(Photos of David Marash and David Frost).
Former ABC "Nightline" reporter Dave Marash, BBC broadcaster David Frost, former CNN journalist Riz Khan, David Foster and Steve Clark of Sky News in Britain, and former U.S. Marine Captain Josh Rushing have signed on to work for the new channel.
The truth is, Al Jazeera's friends have always included the American TV networks, cable and broadcast. They buy and rebroadcast the terror and hostage tapes. Al Jazeera Washington correspondent Hafez al-Mirazi himself says, "To me (the) American media is the loudspeaker of Osama bin Laden…We cover (the tape) and then we move on. But these stations" – referring to the American networks – "…come into my office to pay thousands of dollars to use the same tapes we use. And they show them over and over."
Peter Bergen, author of a book on bin Laden and a CNN Terrorism Analyst, says, "Every time Osama bin Laden opens his mouth every network in the world, including CNN and BBC and Al-Jazeera, et cetera, et cetera, runs these tapes." He says bin Laden is "providing broad strategic ideological guidance to the jihadists around the world through these statements." Some U.S. officials actually suspect bin Laden uses the tapes to transmit coded messages to al Qaeda operatives worldwide.
President Bush was correct when he noted that the "terrorists have chosen the weapon of fear. When they murder children at a school in Beslan, or blow up commuters in London, or behead a bound captive, the terrorists hope these horrors will break our will…" Al-Jazeera is their megaphone.
The Bush Administration's "National Strategy for Victory in Iraq" (photo of document) says that the enemy seeks to "Weaken the Coalition's resolve, and our resolve at home, through barbaric mass-casualty attacks, public slaughter of Iraqi civilians and hostages, infliction of casualties on Coalition forces, and use of the media to spread propaganda and intimidate adversaries."
The terrorists, Bush says, "have nothing to offer the Iraqi people. All they have is the capacity and the willingness to kill the innocent and create chaos for the cameras."
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld (photo of Rumsfeld) says the terrorist strategy is quite simple: "They plan and design their headline-grabbing attacks using every means of communications to intimidate and break the collective will of free people…They know that communications transcend borders -- and that a single news story, handled skillfully, can be as damaging to our cause and as helpful to theirs, as any other method of military attack. And they are doing it."
Satellite dishes, Rumsfeld noted, are all over the Middle East, including Iraq. "Regrettably," he said, "many of the news channels being watched through these dishes are extremely hostile to the West."
We know who and what he's talking about.
The terrorists depend on the media, especially Al-Jazeera, to provide and promote their message of hate and fear.
(Video of bin Laden).
Bin Laden admits to such a strategy. Bruce B. Lawrence quotes him as saying, "Terror is the most dreaded weapon in the modern age and the Western media are mercilessly using it against their own people." Bin Laden spoke those words to Al-Jazeera.
In a Wall Street Journal article, titled, "The Enemy on Our Airwaves," Dorrance Smith wrote, "Isn't it time to scrutinize the relationship among Al-Jazeera, American networks and the terrorists? What role should the U.S. government be playing?"
Well, Smith is now Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs.
Al Jazeera uses the words of American politicians against America. When Senator Dick Durbin compared the actions of U.S. soldiers at Guantanamo to those of Nazis, Al-Jazeera featured the remarks. When Congressman John Murtha called for an immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, Al-Jazeera highlighted the remarks.
When it was reported that President Bush had suggested bombing Al- Jazeera, employees of the network in the Palestinian city of Ramallah gathered to denounce Bush and the U.S. "Down with fascist America" they chanted.
(Video of anti-U.S. demonstration).
But if Al-Jazeera is in fact an enemy propaganda organ, isn't America justified in bombing it?
The situation of course is complicated by the fact that Al Jazeera is based in the country of Qatar, a purported U.S. ally. It could not exist without money provided by the government there.
Qatar, in turn, has a well-funded lobbying presence in Washington, D.C. It has been represented by Hogan & Hartson, Patton Boggs, and the Rahall Consulting Group, run by the sister of Congressman Nick Rahall, the most senior Arab-American in Congress. (photo of Rep. Rahall).She makes $15,000 a month representing Qatar.
The Charleston Daily Mail commented, "Having to pay a congressman's relative to lobby the congressman is a new low for Congress, a legislative body not known for its high standards."
Records show that from the year 2000 to the present, Rahall was number 31 on a list of members of Congress in taking privately funded trips. Sponsors of those trips included the Arab American Institute, the Government of Qatar, and the University of Qatar.
In 2003 Rep. Rahall sponsored a congressional resolution expressing thanks to the government of Qatar for its cooperation in supporting the U.S. Armed Forces.
Qatar is supposed to be one of those "moderate Muslim regimes." And it's true: Qatar was the base for coalition military operations in Iraq. But it also sponsors and finances Al-Jazeera.
Tanya Rahal, who functioned as a fundraiser for the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, attended the "Fifth Annual Qatar-American Conference for Free Markets & Democracy," held in March 2005. One of the speakers was Hafez Al-Mirazi, director of Al-Jazeera's office in Washington D.C.
We're told the conference "was extensively covered in local markets across the world, and especially on the Al-Jazeera Network." No surprise there.
(Video of captured terrorist saying he watched Al-Jazeera).
Al-Jazeera can be counted on to provide fawning coverage of the ruling elite in Qatar. And according to the U.S. State Department, "Citizens [of Qatar] did not have the right to peacefully change their government" and "The Government continued to restrict the freedoms of speech and press."
But it's more sinister than that. A Los Angeles Times story on Tonya Rahal's lobbying campaign for Qatar said the regime "has had to counter allegations by U.S. counterterrorism officials that it had Al Qaeda ties before September. 11." Indeed, the record shows that 9/11 architect Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was in and out of Qatar supporting terrorism in the 1990s and even worked for the government.
"In January 1996," as noted by Associated Press, "the U.S. government tried to have Mohammed detained in Qatar and turned over to U.S. authorities, but was unsuccessful," according to U.S. officials. "By the middle of the year, the Qatari government reported it had lost track of him, sparking concerns that someone in the government had tipped him off." He fled to Pakistan, where he was captured in 2003.
In order to sell Al-Jazeera International, another public relations firm has been hired – that of Brown Lloyd James, in order to convince the American people – and American advertisers – that there is nothing to fear.
But Al Jazeera has never completely explained why its first managing director, Mohammed Jassem al-Ali, was let go. (Video of alhurrah footage).No reason was given for the dismissal. Under the circumstances, it was impossible to stop speculation that Al Ali was, in fact, receiving support from Saddam's government.
Accuracy in Media published a report about this, entitled, "Al-Jazeera and the Saddam Oil Bribes."
We pointed out that the Al-Jazeera TV personality, Sheikh Al-Qaradawi, made comments on his show about the conquest of Rome by Islam. "Islam entered Europe twice and left it," the sheikh explained. "Perhaps the next conquest, Allah willing, will be by means of preaching and ideology." He said "the conquest need not necessarily be by the sword…Perhaps we will conquer these lands without armies."
Al-Jazeera International is taking the fight to America.
For more information, visit our website www.aim.org.
For Accuracy in Media, I'm Cliff Kincaid
(A production of Accuracy in Media. For more information or to arrange an interview with AIM Editor Cliff Kincaid, please call Carisa Bergen of AIM at 202-364-4401, ext. 110.)