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Bin Laden is Dead but His Network Lives

May 9, 2011

Al-Jazeera’s obituary of Osama bin Laden, the founder of al-Qaeda, calls him the man “allegedly” behind the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. This odd formulation reflects the channel’s favorable coverage of the 9/11 “truth” movement, which pinned the attacks on the U.S. and/or Israeli governments. But even more significant is the fact that Al-Jazeera was bin Laden’s medium of choice and transmitted his anti-American message to millions of Arabs and Muslims. This is a fact that the network does not want to trumpet, especially because it has tried to soften its image in a drive to get more carriage for its English-language channel on American television cable and satellite systems.

Many of the video and audio recordings released by Osama bin Laden were apparently transmitted by courier to Al-Jazeera. One Al-Jazeera correspondent, Tayseer Alouni, went to prison in Spain after being convicted of being a courier for al-Qaeda. Another Al-Jazeera employee, Sami al-Hajj, was imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay and released. However, his military file includes allegations that that he was a courier for al-Qaeda as well.

This is significant because of the reports that bin Laden was tracked down through one of his couriers. 

In the end, however, bin Laden himself was not in a far-away cave but a compound in Pakistan , where Navy SEALs reportedly discovered and acquired computer drives and disks. These materials could tell us a lot not only about al-Qaeda but Al-Jazeera’s critical role in the terrorist organization.

For its part, the channel declares, “Thousands of lives have been lost in several countries in what the US calls its ‘war on terror’—from Afghanistan and Pakistan to Iraq and London, where civilians bore brunt of attacks and retaliatory attacks.” Notice how the U.S. is blamed for taking the fight to the terrorists targeting Americans for death. This is vintage Al-Jazeera.

Nevertheless, in order to polish its image, the channel hired Patty Culhane, formerly of MSNBC, as its White House correspondent. She attends White House briefings and has been covering the death of bin Laden.

A more recent hire is Amjad Atallah, named as the channel’s new bureau chief for the Americas . Atallah and Daniel Levy, a founder of the George Soros-funded J Street group, have run the New America Foundation’s Middle East Initiative. Atallah co-authored a paper suggesting that the U.N. accept “Palestine” as a member state this fall.

“I’m joining a great network at a great time,” he says. “Al Jazeera English is looking to further expand its newsgathering reach here in the U.S. as well as its already formidable investigative journalism. I’m looking forward to joining and helping to lead that effort.”

But the channel continues to be scrutinized for its curious coverage of major news events that put aspects of the Arab/Muslim world in a negative light.

Trying to explain why Al-Jazeera English didn’t devote a story to the assault on CBS News correspondent Lara Logan, the channel’s Al Anstey was quoted as saying that they “couldn’t cover everyone that was hurt” during the riots in Egypt. The more logical explanation is that Al-Jazeera had an agenda—to overthrow the Mubarak government, paving the way to power for the Muslim Brotherhood—and covering the attack on Logan might have undermined the notion that the demonstrators were pro-democracy fighters.

The notion that Logan was only “hurt” is a further insult to the reporter, who has now spoken publicly about the sexual assault.

In advance of her Sunday “60 Minutes” appearance to talk about the rape by 200 Egyptian men, CBS News reported that “Logan lost contact with her colleagues for approximately 25 minutes and endured a sexual assault and beating that she feared she would not survive.”

She told The New York Times, “My clothes were torn to pieces,” adding, “What really struck me was how merciless they were. They really enjoyed my pain and suffering. It incited them to more violence.”

On “60 Minutes,” she said, “They literally tore my pants to shreds. And then I felt my underwear go.” She broke down in tears as she described being raped with their hands, leaving her with internal injuries, while other members of the mob tried to pull off her arms. Egyptian soldiers saved her in the end but she was in the hospital for four days.

“It’s not likely anyone involved will be brought to justice,” said CBS News correspondent Scott Pelley, who interviewed Logan.

Al-Jazeera has shown no desire to bring the rapists of Lara Logan to justice, but it is demanding information on one of its own journalists missing in Syria . The Iranian regime has intervened on her behalf.

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Copyright ©2011 Cliff Kincaid

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