By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media
It is fun to watch Big Oil critic Al Gore squirm as he is questioned about selling out to the oil-rich dictatorship in Qatar. But his sale of Current TV to Al Jazeera is not a laughing matter. This transaction is a homeland security threat that violates numerous U.S. laws.
To his credit, funnyman David Letterman got close to the truth when he asked the former Democratic vice-president, “Now why do we think of Al Jazeera as something not right going on there in terms of, in terms of the good for Americans? Why do we think that they may be propaganda for Muslim violence and terrorism?”
“Well, it’s certainly not,” Gore replied. “And many years ago it put some videos on in the Arabic version that I think were misinterpreted, but the Al Jazeera English and now Al Jazeera America [are] really high quality stuff. They’re very widely respected, and people see for themselves. And, by the way, their climate coverage is higher quality and more extensive than any network on TV now in the U.S.”
Gore’s answer to Letterman shows that he is not being honest with those concerned about the deal. If Gore will lie to protect his $100 million payoff from the Arab dictatorship in Qatar, a major oil and gas producer, what else will he lie about? Global warming?
First, the “misinterpreted” videos were from Osama bin Laden—and al Qaeda, which is still trying to kill us. There is nothing to misinterpret. Paul L. Williams, author of the new book, Crescent Moon Rising points out that, during Operation Enduring Freedom, the official name for the war in Afghanistan, “All the tapes from al Qaeda were aired on Al Jazeera to inflame the Arab world. They added all that fuel so that our troops would be killed.” Al Jazeera’s correspondent in Afghanistan, who interviewed bin Laden, was sent to prison for being an agent of al Qaeda.
In Iraq, after the American invasion, the same thing occurred. Al Jazeera’s first managing director was exposed as an agent of the Saddam Hussein regime and the channel promoted the anti-American insurgency. The coverage inspired foreign Jihadists to come to Iraq to kill American soldiers, as captured terrorists acknowledged in interviews.
The new film, “Zero Dark Thirty,” mentions that the courier who eventually led the CIA to bin Laden was located in Pakistan near an Al Jazeera office in order to get the terrorist leader’s videotapes to the channel for worldwide distribution. This was no accident. The collaboration between Al Jazeera and al Qaeda continues to the present day. The channel has interviewed almost every major al Qaeda leader, including Anwar Al-Awlaki, who inspired the Ft. Hood massacre through his contacts with Muslim Army soldier Nidal Hasan. Al-Awlaki was also linked to the attempted bombing in the U.S. on Christmas Day by radical Muslim Umar Farouk.
Second, despite what Al Gore implies, the Arabic and English versions of Al Jazeera are paid for by the same dictatorship. Even Hillary Clinton’s State Department admits that, adding that Qatar controls the news policies and personnel of the channel.
Gore was on Letterman promoting his new book, The Future, which was obviously written before his deal with Al Jazeera was finalized. This is why his mentions of Al Jazeera in the book are so important. He refers to Al Jazeera in the book as the “relatively independent” network that played a role in the so-called “Arab spring.”
It is interesting that this “relatively independent” network has now become “very highly-respected,” as he claimed on Letterman.
It’s apparent that Gore is talking about the channel in glowing terms in order to justify his receipt of $100 million from the $500 million deal. Gore doesn’t want to admit the truth because then he would be exposed for selling Current TV to Al Jazeera not only for “dirty” oil money, but also for blood money. The American blood on the hands of Al Jazeera is real.
Every time that you see a wounded member of the American military, or attend a service for those who died defending America, there is the distinct possibility that the death and destruction was carried out by Jihadists egged on by Al Jazeera.
In terms of Al Jazeera’s news coverage, praised by Al Gore on Letterman and the NBC Today Show, my associate and friend Jerry Kenney, an independent television producer, tells me, “He talked about how many awards Al Jazeera has been given. That is no surprise to me. The arsonist is always the first to see the fire. Al Jazeera lights it and then reports it.”
This is a very serious matter. If Al Jazeera reaches 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. The purpose of “Al Jazeera America” is to reach English-speaking Muslims who don’t speak Arabic with inflammatory words and images making America out to be the enemy and villain in the Middle East.
Nidal Hasan is an example of what could happen. He did not speak Arabic well but communicated with Anwar Al-Awlaki, the English-speaking al-Qaeda leader who was born in the U.S. but operated out of Yemen, ordering and directing mass murder in America. He used the Internet but also praised Al Jazeera journalists by name in a “Message to the Media.”
Recognizing the danger, President Barack Obama was urged by U.S. intelligence agencies to order the murder of Al-Awlaki through a drone strike. Al-Awlaki was killed, but Al Jazeera, his favorite television channel, is very much alive and now, thanks to Al Gore, establishing a permanent base on U.S. soil, possibly reaching 40-50 million homes.
Despite this looming threat and questions about the legality of the purchase, conservative members of Congress are silent. In the House, supposedly under Republican control, an aide to Rep. Michael McCaul, newly appointed chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, says he does not want the “agenda” of the committee driven by the hundreds of Americans calling his office at 202-226-8417 and requesting an investigation of Al Jazeera’s terrorist ties.
Instead, McCaul recently posed for pictures with various Democrats at the Port of Houston after a bipartisan briefing on security measures at the facility. He issued a statement saying, “It wasn’t too long ago in Abbottabad they found documents from bin Laden indicating he wanted to target oil tankers, and that puts this port at risk.”
This is true and port security is a legitimate area of inquiry. But we also know that those bin Laden documents, according to CNN’s Peter Bergen, included a plan to “craft the perfect media message” on the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks by urging contacts between al Qaeda and Al Jazeera.
The terrorist leader said al Qaeda should contact the correspondents of Al Jazeera Arabic and English “and tell them that we are willing to cooperate with them in the area of covering the tenth anniversary by answering any questions that you think the public is interested in.”
So it was apparent, from the leader of this terrorist group, that both Al Jazeera Arabic and Al Jazeera English were considered outlets for al-Qaeda propaganda messages.
There is no reason to believe the new Al Jazeera America will be any different. And the inevitable result will be more cases of terrorist violence and murder on American soil.
A hearing into this deal would make things difficult for McCaul and other Republicans who want to pursue a bipartisan agenda and do not want to irritate Obama and the Democrats. The co-owners of Current TV, Al Gore and Joel Hyatt, are prominent Democrats, and another investor in the company, Richard Blum, is the husband of Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein. Selling their Current TV to Al Jazeera is somewhat comparable to turning over American broadcast facilities during World War II to Tokyo Rose and Axis Sally, the propagandists for the German and Japanese enemies. They were prosecuted and convicted for treason for broadcasting their propaganda against America from overseas.
Plus, hearings will surely annoy Republican Senator John McCain, who joined Hillary Clinton in praising Al Jazeera in 2011.
But investigating Al Jazeera is the right thing to do and a necessary component of homeland security. After all, members of Congress do swear an oath to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic…”
Why don’t they do their jobs?
Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism and can be contacted at [email protected].