I am honored to fight alongside Cliff Kincaid in beating back the jihadist media machine that is buying whole dangerous access to the American news consuming public. I am honored to be a primary signatory of this letter to Homeland Security Committee Chairman Rep. Michael McCaul, requesting that the House Homeland Security Committee convene hearings into the national security threat posed by Al Jazeera on American soil.
This is an ongoing battle. I spoke to this grave threat at a press conference with Cliff Kincaid on Al Jazeera back in April 2011. Watch the video here. More here and our AlJazeera conference videos and materials here. We have just begun to fight. Stay tuned.
January 9, 2013
The Honorable Michael McCaul
Chairman, Committee on Homeland Security
U.S. House of Representatives
H2-176 Ford House Office Building
Dear Chairman McCaul:
We respectfully request that the House Homeland Security Committee convene hearings into the national security threat posed by Al Jazeera on American soil. The announcement that the Qatar-funded enemy propaganda channel, which has functioned as a voice for al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden, has taken over an existing U.S.-based cable TV channel, Current TV, must be examined by the Congress.
Dr. Judea Pearl, father of slain journalist Daniel Pearl, has informed us, in regard to this controversy, “I support your call to investigate the impact of this transaction.” His statement reads as follows:
“A decade of watching over its programs has left me no doubt: Al Jazeera is the main propaganda machine of the Muslim Brotherhood. Posing as a benign alternative communication medium, Al Jazeera choreographs a world stage in which the West is a perennial villain, Hamas is the ultimate role model, and entire societies are dehumanized to a lower form of life, stripped of any mark of dignity or empathy. While refraining from explicit incitement to violence, Al Jazeera weaves the ideological structure and combustible angers from which Jihadi recruits eventually emerge.”
Details are sketchy, but it is reported that Current TV was owned by former Democratic Vice President Al Gore and Joel Hyatt and that the reported purchase price was $500 million, with $100 million of that going to Mr. Gore personally.
These issues present themselves:
- What is the nature of the contract between Al-Jazeera and Current TV owners Al Gore and Joel Hyatt, and the cable and satellite providers implicated in the deal?
- Why did Mr. Gore and Mr. Hyatt reportedly bypass the prospect of selling the cable TV property to an American citizen and media personality, Glenn Beck, in preference for a foreign entity owned by an Arab government?
- What federal rules or laws are in place to guard against foreign acquisition of American media organizations? Should they be strengthened? Should this deal be approved or examined by the federal government?
The House Homeland Security Committee is the appropriate and necessary vehicle for this inquiry because it was specifically established in part to “better protect the American people against a possible terrorist attack.”
There is a clear and present danger in American cable and satellite providers accepting carriage of Al Jazeera. In a statement made available on February 23, 2011, Dr. Pearl said, “Al Jazeera’s popularity and general acceptance in the West has emboldened its management to take an even harder anti-Western stance. Their glorification of child-killer Samir Kuntar, and their leaking of the so called Al-Jazeera Palestine Papers in January of 2011, aimed to destroy the credibility of Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas and to end all hopes for [a] negotiated Mideast settlement are two of many steps attesting [to] their aims and tactics.”
In the case of Samir Kuntar, a released terrorist who had smashed the head of a four-year-old girl with his rifle butt in 1979 after killing her father before her eyes, Al Jazeera not only covered but helped sponsor an August 2008 birthday party for him. Kuntar had been released by Israel in exchange for the bodies of two Israeli soldiers, who were kidnapped by Hezbollah in 2006.
Clearly, Al Jazeera is unlike any other foreign “news’ operation. However, there are some some striking similarities to Al Manar television, a satellite television station affiliated with Hezbollah in Beirut, Lebanon, which has been officially labeled a terrorist entity by the U.S Government and banned from the United States.
Does the treatment of Al Manar serve as a template for how to deal with Al Jazeera’s presence on American soil? Obama Administration officials should be asked to explain what differences, if any, they perceive there to be between Al Manar and Al Jazeera.
One admitted difference is that Qatar, which finances Al Jazeera, is a government, not an officially-designated terrorist organization. Still, the regime supports terrorist organizations like Hamas and Hezbollah and is viewed by some as a state sponsor of terrorism. In the case before us, we believe Congress should examine whether Al Jazeera itself functions as a terrorist entity and not just a diplomatic tool of the Qatar regime.
The relationship between Qatar and Al Jazeera and the Muslim Brotherhood also requires attention. We note that Ikhwanweb, the official English website of the Muslim Brotherhood, has referred to Al Jazeera as “the greatest Arab media organization.”
The U.S. State Department designates Hamas as a “Foreign Terrorist Organization” and states that it “was formed in late 1987 as an outgrowth of the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood.”
Dr. Judea Pearl has commented in the past -- and has reiterated here --- that Al Jazeera is the voice of the Muslim Brotherhood. That voice has a real name and face – Yusef Al-Qaradawi, the Al-Jazeera TV personality who has stated, among other things, that Hitler was divine punishment for the misdeeds of the Jews; that the Holocaust was exaggerated; that he desires to end his life in the service of Jihad by visiting Israel and throwing a bomb, becoming a “martyr” in the process; and that the U.S. will collapse if it doesn’t end its “unjust ways.”
The immediate danger that must be addressed is that Al Jazeera’s influence over potential Muslim extremists could inspire home-grown Jihadists to commit terrorist acts against Americans. We already have evidence that the words and images on Al Jazeera have inspired foreign terrorists to kill Americans in places such as Iraq. The captured terrorists have said so on film in a documentary produced by Accuracy in Media.
Al Jazeera has served as a mouthpiece for terrorist groups ranging from al-Qaeda to Hamas and Hezbollah. Its coverage of the riots and demonstrations throughout the Middle East, dubbed “real news” by Secretary of State Clinton, does not justify bringing the channel into American homes through cable and satellite systems without scrutiny by Congress and the appropriate federal agencies and authorities. In fact, the claim about the channel providing “real news” is itself false, since Al-Jazeera English didn’t devote a story to the sexual assault on CBS News correspondent Lara Logan during the Muslim Brotherhood-led revolution in Egypt. Reporting on the Logan attack would have undermined the story that the uprising was all about overturning an oppressive government rather than turning Egypt into a radical Muslim state that would no longer ally itself with the U.S. or Israel.
Mr. Chairman, we must never forget the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on America. In order to prevent similar attacks from happening again, the Islamist enemy must be prevented from gaining a foothold in the U.S. media market and reaching Muslims and others in America with inflammatory hate-America messages. Giving Al Jazeera access to tens of millions of households, through its acquisition of Current TV, could lay the groundwork for more attacks on American citizens from within our own borders in the form of home-grown Jihadism. There have been dozens of cases of homegrown violent jihadists who have plotted murder and carried out attacks on American soil since 9/11. The U.S. should prevent and not be encouraging these cases by giving foreign Jihadists access to the U.S. media market.
As noted, Dr. Judea Pearl, father of slain journalist Daniel Pearl, supports the call for investigation of the transaction involving the sale of Current TV to Al Jazeera. He had previously said, regarding the prospect of allowing the Al Jazeera English channel to broadcast in the U.S.:
“With the growing number of social misfits in society, and the growing confusion between ‘information’ and deception in the news media, the danger of fueling combustible anger in some viewers cannot be ignored, especially when pumped subliminally by well-respected Western anchors. Considering our current concern over the increase of home-grown terrorism incidents, this danger is not to be taken lightly.”
Because of the concerns expressed by Dr. Pearl and many others, Al Jazeera English never got a strong foothold in America, which is why the channel and its owners in Qatar have now resorted to buying an American cable channel outright, in the hope of maintaining the contracts with various cable and satellite providers that Current TV had previously negotiated. This back-door approach by a foreign propaganda channel to getting access to the U.S. media market is as deceptive as the claims we hear that the channel will not air Jihadist programming when the transition from Current TV to “Al Jazeera America” is completed in a few months.
To be sure, we can expect the new channel to hire some well-known American anchors and reporters and commentators. But we would remind you that former ABC journalist David Marash became an anchor for Al Jazeera English, supposedly with the guarantee that the programming would be free and independent of radical influences, and subsequently resigned in protest over editorial interference in his work. This fact demonstrates that the personnel behind Al Jazeera Arabic, said to be the more radical of the channels, call the shots. Indeed, the departure of Marash confirmed that the English channel was under the firm control of the same people who control Al-Jazeera Arabic. An Accuracy in Media report, “The Al-Jazeera Hall of Shame,” had cited documentary evidence that key Al-Jazeera English personnel had come from Al-Jazeera Arabic.
The new “Al Jazeera America” may start out by softening its tone, in order to fool people about its real agenda, but the fact remains that the owners running the pro-Jihadist regime in Qatar ultimately control the channel’s news policies and personnel.
Dr. Pearl had noted in his 2011 statement, “Even if Al Jazeera English waters down its sister network’s alarmist content, it should still be seen as a potential threat: it will bestow respectability upon the practices of its Arabic language network in Qatar, which continues, among other things, to broadcast Sheik Qaradawi's teachings, frequently, consistently and prominently.”
These statements are important to consider. Dr. Pearl is president of The Daniel Pearl Foundation, formed in memory of his son, to promote tolerance and understanding internationally through journalism, music and dialogue. Still, he thinks Al Jazeera doesn’t contribute to such understanding and actually poisons relations between people.
You will recall that Daniel Pearl was killed by al Qaeda and the circumstances surrounding his death have relevance to whether Al Jazeera should be given a major foothold in the U.S. Daniel Pearl was personally beheaded by Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the mastermind behind the September 11, 2001, attacks for Osama bin Laden. This gruesome spectacle was filmed by the terrorists for dramatic effect. Mohammed boasted of his murder, saying that he “decapitated with my blessed right hand the head of the American Jew, Daniel Pearl, in the city of Karachi, Pakistan. For those who would like to confirm, there are pictures of me on the Internet holding his head.”
This is significant because Qatar, the sponsor and funder of Al Jazeera, has been accused by numerous sources, including the 9/11 Commission, of having protected Khalid Shaikh Mohammed from apprehension by U.S. authorities, a decision that permitted him to go on and plot terrorism against the West.
A decision by Congress to allow the sale of Current TV to Al Jazeera could have similar repercussions because of the impact its propaganda can have on impressionable young Muslims predisposed to believe the worst about the United States.
We note with interest that, as chairman of one of the Committee on Homeland Security’s Subcommittees, you convened a September 14, 2012 hearing on “Lessons From Fort Hood: Improving our Ability to Connect the Dots.” In that case, as the evidence showed, Major Nidal Malik Hasan, a commissioned officer in the United States Army, who openly communicated with the al Qaeda terrorist leader Anwar al-Awlaki, on November 5, 2009, walked into the Soldier Readiness Center at Fort Hood, Texas, shouted Allah Akbar, and opened fire on unarmed soldiers and civilians. He killed 13 and wounded 42 others. You note that, “This was the most horrific terrorist attack on US soil since 9/11.”
One of the “dots” that you can now connect through hearings on Al Jazeera can be al-Awlaki’s reliance on Al Jazeera as one of his methods of communication with potential Jihadists.
In “A Message to the Members of the Media,” released February 14, 2011, al-Awlaki defended the “trustworthy” journalists associated with Al Jazeera and praised them by name. One of them, Tayseer Allouni, had been Al Jazeera’s Afghanistan bureau chief and had interviewed bin Laden. He was captured in Afghanistan by U.S. forces and convicted of being an agent of al Qaeda and sentenced to prison in Spain. Al Jazeera never disavowed him or his work and in fact paid for his legal defense.
Al Jazeera touted al-Awlaki as a “religious scholar,” giving this terrorist credibility in the minds of millions of Arabs and Muslims, including in the U.S. This is how the channel lays the groundwork for radical Islam to take up the cause of anti-American Jihad.
But this relationship between al Qaeda and Al Jazeera is only one aspect of the problem that must be examined by the House Homeland Security Committee.
Other issues include:
- Why have taxpayer-funded public broadcasting facilities, in violation of Federal Communication Commission (FCC) rules, turned over their facilities to foreign propaganda channels Al Jazeera, Russia Today, and others?
- Why has the Department of Justice not enforced the law requiring that foreign television channels operating on American soil label their broadcasts as foreign propaganda under the Foreign Agents Registration Act?
If this transaction is allowed to go forward, it would seem logical that the Al Jazeera broadcasts should be labeled as the foreign propaganda they are. This is the law. The Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) is “a disclosure statute that requires persons acting as agents of foreign principals in a political or quasi-political capacity to make periodic public disclosure of their relationship with the foreign principal, as well as activities, receipts and disbursements in support of those activities.”
In short, the law mandates that the broadcasts carry a notice that they constitute propaganda on behalf of a foreign government. Yet, broadcaster Jerry Kenney, who has filed a complaint over this, points out that the broadcasts of Al Jazeera and other foreign channels do not carry the statement in the programming that it is distributed on behalf of a foreign principal and that additional information is on file with the Department of Justice, “nor do the networks or their principals appear to have registered as foreign agents as required by the Foreign Agents Registration Act.”
Why has the Department of Justice not enforced the law in this case?
Before Al Jazeera converts Current TV into another propaganda vehicle of the Muslim Brotherhood and the terrorist organizations it has spawned, we urge you to schedule a hearing in the near future to examine the compelling and urgent issues presented in this letter.
Cliff Kincaid, President, America's Survival, Inc., Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism
Pamela Geller, President, American Freedom Defense Initiative
Daniel Pipes, President, Middle East Forum
L. Brent Bozell, Founder and President, Media Research Center
Ted Baehr, Chairman, Christian Film & Television Commission
Jerry Kenney, President, Kenney Broadcasting Corporation
Frank J. Gaffney, Jr., President, Center for Security Policy
Melissa Ortiz, founder, Able Americans
Judson Phillips, founder, Tea Party Nation
Larry Cirignano, President, Faithful Catholic Citizens
Richard and Susan Falknor, Publishers, Blue Ridge Forum
C. Preston Noell III, President, Tradition, Family, Property, Inc.
Ryan Mauro, National Security Analyst, RadicalIslam.org.
Wes Vernon, Analyst, RenewAmerica.com.
Kerry Kelley, Veteran and Journalist, Jacksonville, Florida
Steven Emerson, Executive Director, The Investigative Project on Terrorism
Sandy Rios, Vice President, Family Pac Federal
Paul Caprio, Chairman, Patriotic Veterans
Tim Wildmon, President, American Family Association
Ken Timmerman, President & CEO, Foundation for Democracy in Iran
Dr. Steven Moysey, Counter Terrorism and Crisis Negotiation Specialist
Christopher Holton, Vice President for Outreach, Center for Security Policy, Director-Divest Terror Initiative and Shariah Risk Due Diligence Project
Joseph A. Klein, attorney and United Nations correspondent
Tom Berrigan, Covenant Keepers of America, Inc.
Tom Trento, Director, The United West
Sarah Stern, Founder and President, the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET).
Alyssa A. Lappen, investigative journalist
Pamela Hall, Journalist-Blogger
Richard Braun, independent consultant
Larry Grathwohl, author, Bringing Down America
Tina Trent, PhD.
Mary Grabar, PhD.
Lee Kaplan, Executive Director, Defending America for Knowledge and Action (DAFKA.org)
Joseph F. Connor, 9/11 family member, cousin of Steven Schlag
Walid Shoebat, Arabic Research Analyst, Founder of the Shoebat Foundation
Ben Barrack, radio talk show host
Lynn Woolley, syndicated radio talk show host, Texas
Suzanne Shattuck, The United West