By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media
Evidence is emerging that powerful Republican K Street lobbyist Tom Korologos is the main factor behind the failure of the House of Representatives to do its duty and investigate the activities of Al Jazeera on U.S. soil. Korologos has been described as a Republican “heavy hitter” who can work his will on Capitol Hill. His clout explains why Rep. Michael McCaul (TX), Republican chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, has failed to open hearings on Al Jazeera.
Big money has bought access to the U.S. media market for the latest version of terror television. And Republicans who should be on guard against this have sold out.
The channel has Arabic and English versions, and works hand-in-glove with the Muslim Brotherhood and its associated terrorist groups, including al Qaeda and Hamas. The channel is well-funded by the regime in Qatar, where the country’s citizens are denied freedom of speech and press and there has been no “Arab Spring.” Indeed, a poet got life in prison in Qatar for insulting the emir, a multi-billionaire.
The official launch of Al Jazeera America is less than two weeks away, on August 20. Upon its launch, the new channel reports that Al Jazeera English will no longer be available in the U.S. on television or as an online stream.
Asked for an explanation as to his inaction, McCaul’s press spokesman Mike Rosen had no comment.
But the involvement of Korologos explains a lot. A former Ambassador under President George W. Bush and now a “strategic adviser” to lobbying firm DLA Piper, Korologos gave an amazing interview on March 14 to Brian Lamb of C-SPAN in which he acknowledged his work for Al Jazeera, but said that he was “not really” concerned about the channel’s ownership by the terrorist-supporting government of Qatar.
Korologos said, “I’m a journalist. I was born and raised in journalism. I got a graduate degree from Columbia Journalism School, one of the Pulitzer traveling fellows for finishing number one, two or three, whatever, pick your choice, in the class. I’m for freedom of the press, the more the merrier. Al Jazeera America is not Al Jazeera English nor is it Al Jazeera Arabic. They’re going to have bureaus all over the country. They’re going to have news outlets today. Today you can go watch Fox or NBC or one of those and it’ll show on the bottom of the screen, Al Jazeera reporting. That fire they had where all those people were killed in South America and Chile, I think it was, had Al Jazeera reporting. They’ve got more bureaus than networks do.”
Korologos went on to compare Al Jazeera to the BBC and the Voice of America. “Those guys [at Al Jazeera] are going to be journalists,” he claimed.
Since he made these comments, Al Jazeera has been completely discredited in Egypt, as its propaganda activities on behalf of the Muslim Brotherhood have been exposed for the world to see. A mutiny among its staff occurred and Al Jazeera has been ostracized by most of the Egyptian media. Even before this transpired, Al Jazeera English had been heavily criticized, even by American liberals, for ignoring the sexual assault on CBS News correspondent Lara Logan during the Egyptian revolution. At the time, Al Jazeera was cheering the overthrow of pro-American Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak.
Still, Rep. McCaul has consistently refused to investigate the launch of Al Jazeera America, even after it paid Al Gore and his partners $500 million in a questionable transaction for ownership of the American television company Current TV. The deal gets Al Jazeera America into 40 to 50 million homes.
Yet, former Attorney General Michael Mukasey has said, in regard to Al Jazeera, “I think if an American medium is controlled by a political force from abroad, that’s a proper subject for inquiry.”
As AIM has reported, Al Jazeera’s current operations in the U.S. are illegal, since its broadcasts are not labeled as foreign propaganda, as required under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). The law was originally enacted to discourage pro-Nazi agents from spreading propaganda inside the United States but it applies in general to agents of foreign governments and foreign political powers.
Meanwhile, Rep. Tim Murphy’s (R-PA) letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) about the need to review Al Jazeera in the context of “foreign ownership of media outlets” in the U.S. received a belated response. William T. Lake, chief of the FCC’s Media Bureau, simply told Murphy the agency has no jurisdiction over the matter.
However, former FCC commissioner Michael Copps told me in an interview that the activities in the U.S. of Al Jazeera, Russia Today, and other foreign propaganda networks were a proper subject of inquiry by the FCC. “I think you conduct a thorough inquiry to understand what’s going on,” he said about these channels. He wondered about their impact on existing media and communities in the U.S.
Broadcaster Jerry Kenney has filed an FCC complaint about Al Jazeera programming being illegally aired on taxpayer-supported public TV stations. He has received no response from the FCC.
AIM has also reported that Al Jazeera evaded the law requiring federal approval for foreign investments in America that have national security implications. The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) is under the jurisdiction of the Treasury Department and is responsible for analyzing the transaction.
CFIUS investigated and approved China-based Dalian Wanda Group Corporation’s purchase of AMC Entertainment, one of the nation’s largest movie theater chains.
The writer Zach Coleman has noted, “News broadcasting is more politically sensitive than cinema operation and Al Jazeera is a much more controversial acquirer than Dalian Wanda, which was previously unknown in the U.S.”
In his C-SPAN interview, Korologos discussed his lobbying on Capitol Hill on behalf of various Republican presidents and said, when asked about his work for Al Jazeera, that “…I’m still working because I haven’t got anything else to do. I’d like to go be a ski instructor which I’ve been, we have a place outside of Aspen and by the way, we own an art gallery out there.”
Korologos is one-half of a “power couple” that includes his wife, Ann McLaughlin, who was previously married to commentator John McLaughlin. The art gallery is called the “Ann Korologos Gallery.”
This exchange about his firm DLA Piper then took place:
Brian Lamb: You’re with a company called DLA Piper, 3,400 lawyers worldwide, 64 offices in this country or worldwide?
Lamb: Senator Mitchell, Senator Daschle, others that are…
Korologos: Congressman Castle.
Lamb: Berl Bernhard, who used to work for Senator Muskie, you’re in this business, have been in it for years. Is this a good thing that people come to Congress, then go downtown?
Korologos: Of course it is, somewhere, you’ve got to go somewhere. You don’t want to be a hillbilly all your life in this town. What’s a hillbilly? Someone who just goes to the Hill and gravitates and stays there. I should correct you, since we came in, I think the number is up to 3,800 lawyers. It keeps growing. They’re all over the…
Lamb: Who owns that company?
Korologos: It’s a conglomerate of law firms that they have been buying and expanding. Their motto is, Everything Matters, so we do everything, from here to China to Singapore to South America. It’s a big firm and what I do, I’m a strategic adviser over there. What does that mean? Well it means that they come to me and ask for strategic advice and I give it to them. They wanted to make me senior adviser and I said that implies old, so I became strategic. Yes, everybody is entitled to representation. It’s in the Constitution.
This is how Korologos justifies his work on behalf of the Muslim Brotherhood channel.
DLA Piper not only represented Al Jazeera in the acquisition of Gore’s Current TV, but is also active in the “Islamic financial services industry” in the Middle East.
Big money has trumped homeland security.
Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism and can be contacted at [email protected].