02/28/13

Congressman Murphy Seeks Probe of Al Jazeera

By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media

Rep. Tim Murphy, who holds a senior position on the House Energy and Commerce Committee as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, has called on the Obama Administration to explain whether Al Jazeera’s purchase of Current TV from former Democratic Vice President Al Gore was given any federal review and scrutiny.

But Al Jazeera is working furiously to stop the mounting congressional interest and now has three lobbying firms working to stop any hearings or investigations into the deal.

Once known as the voice of Osama bin Laden, Al Jazeera is the mouthpiece of the Muslim Brotherhood and its various terrorist affiliates. Qatar, which owns Al Jazeera, supports foreign Jihadists, including Hamas, a terrorist organization dedicated to Israel’s destruction.

Rep. Murphy told Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Julius Genachowski in a letter that “foreign ownership of media outlets” in the U.S. should be reviewed by the FCC and he questions what, if anything, the FCC did in regard to the Al Jazeera transaction. He says “the rules governing foreign ownership of U.S. news networks” would seem to apply in this case.

Murphy notes that the deal “would increase Al Jazeera’s broadcast footprint ninefold, beaming the channel into 40 million American homes.”

A news release quotes Murphy as saying, “There are legitimate concerns about the sale of an American news channel to a media corporation owned by a foreign government. And under this Administration, the FCC has been especially sensitive to consolidation efforts by television networks and other outlets, which has prompted me to make this inquiry.”

“The Federal Communications Commission has in the past moved assertively to define its role in media-consolidation efforts,” notes the Murphy letter. For example, he says, “in the case of the Comcast-NBC Universal merger, the FCC conducted an aggressive legal review of the matter resulting in a settlement of $800,000 to the U.S. Treasury by Comcast, according to records made public by your Enforcement Bureau.”

Murphy continued, “I would expect that foreign ownership of media outlets in this country falls under a similar category of scrutiny and interest. Concerns over the deal have already been raised by carriers such as Time Warner, and the cable company has announced that it will drop the newly proposed ‘Al Jazeera America’ channel from its packages.”

But in addition to hiring the K Street lobbying firm of DLA Piper to lobby on its behalf, the channel has hired Global Policy Initiatives and TCK International to represent it on Capitol Hill, according to a report from the Center for Public Integrity.

On January 4, AIM released a statement calling the transaction “an unacceptable danger to American citizens by further adding to the potential for home-grown Jihadists inspired by Al Jazeera’s inflammatory programming.”

In addition to Al Jazeera’s collaboration with terrorist groups, AIM said the hearings should examine:

  • The fact that 30 public television stations around the U.S. are already airing Al Jazeera in violation of Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules.
  • Al Jazeera is not complying with the Foreign Agent Registration Act and labeling its broadcasts as foreign propaganda paid for by the pro-jihadist government of Qatar.

Michael Thompson of WorldNetDaily recently reported on our efforts, while conservative talk radio host Michael Savage has denounced the deal and urged congressional hearings into the transaction.

AIM previously reported on Al Jazeera’s hiring of the K street lobbying firm, DLA Piper, to stop any plans by Congress to investigate the sale. DLA Piper was hired by Qatar and even has an office in the Arab state, where it works on such matters as “Sharia finance” and tapping into Arab oil wealth.

As part of this expanding effort, Al Jazeera has hired two Republican lobbyists, Tom Korologos and George Salem, to lobby on its behalf, according to a report from Jacob Fenton of the Sunlight Foundation.

Korologos is identified as a “heavyweight Republican lobbyist” whose ties to Capitol Hill “are so legendary he has been dubbed the 101st senator,” while Salem is identified as co-founder of the Arab American Institute who worked on various Republicans campaigns and has donated $166,000 since the 1990 election, almost all of it to Republican candidates.

The apparent purpose of hiring Republicans is to prevent Republicans in Congress from investigating the Al Jazeera deal with prominent Democrats.

Gore and two other prominent Democrats, Joel Hyatt and Richard C. Blum, husband of Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, are making money from the deal, valued at $500 million, from the oil-rich Middle Eastern dictatorship of Qatar.

Jacob Fenton reports the deal “has drawn plenty of suspicion from conservative Republicans” and that the lobbying activity is an indication that “the TV network is taking some big steps to smooth over those differences.”

The Sunlight Foundation notes that DLA Piper has hosted at least 20 fundraisers for members of Congress at its Washington, D.C. offices over the past few years. Those fundraisers were for many prominent Republicans.

However, the Tim Murphy letter demonstrates that some Republicans are resisting the pressure and taking their oversight responsibilities seriously.

On the other hand, Rep. Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, has failed to announce hearings into the transaction.

  • Call Rep. Murphy at (202) 225-2301 and thank him for probing the Al Jazeera deal.

Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism and can be contacted at [email protected].

02/28/13

OIC Propaganda And Demonisation Channel To Be Launched Next Year

By: Aeneas Lavinium
ICLA

The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has recently started thinking about a new TV project. According to Arab News the new OIC TV channel will be launched in 2014 (1) The Arab News article reports that one of the possible locations of the headquarters for the new channel will be Cairo. Of course such a venue would put it safely in a country controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood, though Western leaders already seem to have depicted the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood as the happy smiling face of Islamic fundamentalism and therefore good partners in world affairs. The whole world may therefore be able to look forwarded to lectures on human rights from the successors of Hassan al-Banna who founded the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood.

According to the International Islamic News Agency (IINA):

“The channel would focus on commercial, economic and financial issues concerning the 57 member states. Its aim is to consolidate cooperation among member states and peoples to facilitate information and knowledge exchange.” (2)

However, given the OIC’s past behaviour the broadcasts will be replete with accusations of ‘islamophobia’ and claims of victimhood even as non-Muslims in Islamic societies continue to suffer persecution. Indeed the headline of an article TRT-world.com (3) suggests that combating ‘islamophobia’ will be one of its roles.

Perhaps a suitable name for the channel would be Witch Hunters Without Borders based on what appears to be the OIC’s primary role. There will undoubtedly be demands for curbs on freedom of speech in the West and the imposition of Islamic blasphemy laws. Human rights abuses against non-Muslims that take place every day within OIC member states will have no place on the channel. If covered at all such reports will probably be dismissed as Zionist or Western right wing propaganda.

It is likely that human rights activists who oppose sharia on humanitarian grounds will be exposed to the usual demonization. Such people undoubtedly will be labelled ‘islamophobes’ and cast into the outer darkness. Governments in the West will be warmly encouraged to persecute such heretics. The causes of hurt feelings will be equated with crimes against humanity, while real crimes against humanity that take place every day in OIC countries will be ignored. Those who expose such crimes will be called ‘hatemongers’.

(1) OIC’s TV channel to be launched in 2014 (Arab News)

(2) OIC’s TV channel to be launched next year (IINA News)

(3) OIC to launch satellite TV channel to counter Islamophobia: The Organization of Islamic Cooperation has set about launching a television channel to broadcast via satellite to the whole world (trt-world.com)

02/27/13

A Mess

Arlene from Israel

The mess is of considerable proportions, as I see it. Redeemable, yes. With determination, inner confidence, strength and faith. But are we seeing these factors in play sufficiently? A friend told me today that she’s feeling demoralized, and she’s not alone.

I actually had hopes a day ago, that by the time I sat down to write today, late in my day, there would have been an announcement about Bennett having signed on to the coalition. Yesterday Likud was saying that it was coming any minute — maybe last night, maybe during the day today. Now reports have it that it will be in the “next few days.” Obviously, while there has been progress, everything is not going quite as smoothly as certain parties would have us believe. I believe the catch is Livni’s role in the government.

The parameters of the current political situation are beginning to become less clouded. The deal between Bennett and Lapid was, it seems, not that neither would join without the other, but that neither would negotiate terms that were unacceptable to the other. And so, apparently Bennett held out for hardi draft terms that are acceptable to Lapid, and Lapid is making noise about the roles Livni is slated to play, a matter of greater concern to Bennett.

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While perhaps we are close to being able to assume that Bennett ultimately will sign on, it is still not clear at all whether Lapid will. The latest news says negotiations with him begin tomorrow, but he’s hedging his bets and also maneuvering himself into position to head the opposition, should he not join the coalition. (Were he to head the opposition, Lapid would work day and night to bring the government down. Surely Netanyahu realizes this.)

If they both do join, with Likud having accomodated their terms, then it will be apparent that Netanyahu’s ploy in bringing on Livni was a huge failure.

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But we’re not there yet. Netanyahu is also hedging his bets. Maariv has it that he’s currently courting Shelly Yachimovich of Labor for all he’s worth — allegedly promising Labor both the Finance Ministry and the Industry, Trade, and Labor Ministry, the two top economic portfolios; with an additional promise to back MK Binyamin Ben Eliezer to succeed Shimon Peres as president.

If he brought in Yachimovich he’d attempt to wash his hands of both Bennett and Lapid, and would take in the hareidi parties, Shas and UTJ, along with Livni and Mofaz.

This, my friends, makes my hair stand on end, which is quite a trick since I have curly hair. It would represent an absolute betrayal of those who voted for Likud and of the members of the Likud faction itself, many of whom are right wing.

Perhaps Yachimovich is too smart to allow herself to be used by Netanyahu, and perhaps both Bennett and Lapid ultimately will be on board. But I think it’s time the prime minister heard from us.

This is a communication that is particularly important for Israelis to send.

Let him know that you are a voting Israeli and consider his moving left a betrayal of those who elected him and of the faction he is supposed to represent. Tell him that he’s being watched, and that how he behaves now will directly affect his political future. If you’ve voted Likud in the past and do not think you will next time around — tell him!!

If you are Israeli, please share with others. If you are not an Israeli, but have relatives or friends who are, send this to them.

E-mail: [email protected] and also [email protected] (underscore after pm) use both addresses.

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Now we come to the issue of Iran, an ugly situation that is rapidly deteriorating into one more ugly still. It is because of this situation, beyond all others, that Netanyahu’s political games are so incomprehensible and so deplorable.

He tells the world how important facing down Iran is, and I have praised him mightily for doing so. But he’s not putting Israel in the proper place for facing down the threat — this requires a strong, cohesive, right wing government.

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The Telegraph (UK) has published pictures, taken recently, of a heavy water production plant, in Arak, Iran, 150 miles southwest of Teheran. Heavy water is used in operating a reactor that produces plutonium, which can be used to produce an atomic bomb. The pictures show activity, including a cloud of steam, that indicates heavy water production.

What is more, pictures show anti-aircraft missile and artillery sites protect the plant. IAEA inspectors have been denied access to the plant since 2011. And Iran is stonewalling on providing any information about what’s going on there.

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4350002,00.html

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This is being referred to as Iran’s plan B for securing a nuclear weapon. But Iran’s plan A is still in operation, and being accelerated!

And so I must ask, how stupid are the world’s leaders? Do they not understand what they’re going to be facing down the road? Or do they understand and — for totally incomprehensible reasons — just not care? Perhaps they delude themselves that it won’t be so bad, and that containment will work. Perhaps they are simply cowards.

Today, the second round of negotiations between P5 + 1 nations and Iran, at Almaty, Kazakhstan, ended. Nothing was achieved, but Reuters reports that the Iranians were “upbeat,” seeing the talks as a “positive step” in which the six powers tried to “get closer to our viewpoint.”

The only thing that was decided was that experts would meet in Istanbul in March, and that political discussions would resume in Almaty on April 5.

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“I hope the Iranian side is looking positively on the proposal we put forward,” said EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.

The attitude expressed by her exemplifies precisely what’s wrong with these negotiations. I have noted this on previous occasions. They are being conducted as if between two equal parties: You give this, I’ll give that. I make an offer and see if it pleases you. Instead of a clear message (however it is couched diplomatically): We don’t like what you’re doing. Continue as you have been and we’ll ensure that you are stopped. If we have to, we’ll blow you to kingdom-come. Now would you like to discuss how to dismantle your program?

A spokesman for Ashton said, “We are looking for flexibility from the Iranians.” A splendid example of “head in the clouds” thinking.

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Israeli officials seem the only ones who are seeing matters straight, with regard to these meetings. Said one official:

“The Iranian strategy is clear: to draw out diplomacy and continue to engage, but in parallel to continue enriching uranium. They are engaged in a consistent strategy to draw out the talks. Their ultimate goal is to keep taking, and one day surprise the world with nuclear tests.”

While the negotiating parties are talking about making an offer to Iran regarding cutting back sanctions in return for certain actions, the Israeli officials are speaking about “dramatically upgrading” the sanctions, which must be backed by a credible and convincing military option.

An official in Jerusalem clarified, saying that the international community must clearly state what the “or else” part of the “stop the bomb or else” equation is.

This is what they’re afraid to do.

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In addition to “unnamed Israeli officials,” the prime minister himself made a statement today about the need for “military sanctions”:

“We have the problem of Iran that is continuing to defy the international community, [and] doesn’t seem to seek an end to its military nuclear program,” said Netanyahu. “It continues to defy all the international standards and I believe that this requires the international community to ratchet up its sanctions and make clear that if this continues there will be also a credible military sanction. I think no other means will make Iran obey the wishes of the international community.”

http://www.timesofisrael.com/after-talks-end-netanyahu-calls-for-military-sanctions-on-iran/

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Israel’s Channel 10, cited by Times of Israel, on Monday reported that:

“US President Barack Obama will tell Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that a ‘window of opportunity’ for a military strike on Iran will open in June:

“Obama will come bearing the message that if diplomatic efforts and sanctions don’t bear fruit, Israel should ‘sit tight’ and let Washington take the stage, even if that means remaining on the sidelines during a US military operation…Netanyahu will be asked to refrain from any military action and keep a low profile, avoiding even the mention of a strike.” The report cited unnamed officials.

http://www.timesofisrael.com/obama-to-tell-netanyahu-us-gearing-up-for-strike/

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Well, in the context of the above discussion, I felt it responsible to report this, while indicating that I find it very hard to believe. Especially is this so with Hagel now to be secretary of defense.

What is most credible about this is the fact that Obama indicates he would not want Israel involved, clearly so that it would not appear to the Arab world that the US was allied with Israel or acting on Israel’s behalf. President Bush senior pulled something similar when he went after Saddam Hussein.

Plus, there is the remote possibility that the exposure of Iran’s plan B, which is now starting to be operational, might be stiffening Obama’s back and forcing him to face realities.

But, as I’ve discussed before, it’s a tough sell, getting Israel to sit back and trust Obama on this. Nor is it prudent Israeli policy to put Israel’s security in the hands of another nation.

I ponder what is expected to happen in June that would allegedly open the “window of opportunity” that is referred to. And whether this would bring us past our own “window of opportunity” for striking. That is, if we waited, and the US failed to strike, if we would find we no longer could because we lack the equipment to hit those reinforced bunkers.

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That Iran is a menace to Israel is evident even beyond the issue of its nuclear arms development. In recent days, terrorist plots against Jews and Israelis have been exposed in Nigeria and Cyprus.

http://www.jns.org/news-briefs/2013/2/21/iran-backed-terror-plots-against-israelis-revealed-in-nigeri.html

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Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones are coming to perform here in Israel on Monday, April 15, to help celebrate our 65th Independence Day. This is in spite of pressure brought to bear by British, European and US Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) groups.

“We’ve been slammed and smacked and twittered a lot by the anti-Israeli side,” said Mick Jagger, the band’s leader… “All I can say is: anything worth doing is worth overdoing. So we decided to add a concert on Tuesday.’

“This is a huge mistake for the Stones,” declared BDS proponent Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb. “They stand to lose a lot of money as a result of showing solidarity with Zionism, because their most devoted fans also support boycotting Israel.”

“I don’t really count myself as a very sophisticated businessperson,” Jagger responded…”I’m a creative artist.”

Credit: Spinner

Well bravo! So heartening to know we have friends of courage.

And Gottlieb? She should hang her head in shame for her statement. Her head should hang so low that she can never lift it up again. Opposed to someone who shows “solidarity with Zionism,” and calls herself a “rabbi.”

How bitterly ironic is this situation.

You can see further information on Israel Matzav:

http://israelmatzav.blogspot.ca/2013/02/mick-jagger-and-rolling-stones-to-defy.html

I whole-heartedly endorse the suggestion — made by the person who sent me this information — that everyone go out and buy some of Jagger’s music so that he comes out ahead on this. (Thanks Paul R.)