- Based on its recent Libyan and Gulf states reporting
(or lack thereof), Qatar-based Al Jazeera's credibility appears extremely
- A previous article said the following:
- Overall, its Libya misreporting has been deceitful, functioning
more as a propaganda arm for Washington, NATO and insurgents, indistinguishable
from US and other western media, representing imperial conquest, colonization,
and pillaging of another non-belligerent country.
- In late March, moreover, Front Page writer Mohammed al-Kibsi
accused Al Jazeera of airing old Iraqi prisoner abuse video, broadcast
by Al-Arabiya in 2007, in fabricating news about Yemen.
- Yet it was aired repeatedly, claiming it showed Yemeni
Central Security forces torturing protesters. Later admitting its mistake,
Al Jazeera blamed a technical error and apologized, too late to undue the
damage to those blamed and its own reputation, badly tarnished by frequent
misreporting on the region, despite earlier worthy efforts that built its
standing as a reliable broadcaster. That now is very much in question.
- California State University Professor As'ad AbuKhalil
runs the Angry Arab News Service, accessed through the following link:
- His recent comments on Al Jazeera's Libya coverage include:
- April 20: "According to Al Jazeera's legal opinion,"
UN Resolution 1973 permits use of nuclear weapons.
- America, in fact, has an arsenal of so-called deep-penetrating
mini-nuke buster busters, able to destroy underground targets with varying
yields from one to 1,000 kilotons. Hiroshima's bomb was about 15 KT, Nagasaki's
about 21 KT.
- Since the Bush administration's 2001 Nuclear Policy Review,
Washington claimed a unilateral right to use first-strike nuclear weapons
preemptively, including against non-nuclear states under three conditions:
- -- against targets able to withstand non-nuclear weapons;
- -- in retaliation against nuclear, biological or chemical
- -- against any perceived real or contrived national security
- April 20: "Al Jazeera now wants a ground invasion,"
citing Misurata residents and UAE officials also wanting intensified bombing.
- April 17: "Al Jazeera and the Qarari-Saudi conflict"
benefitted the broadcaster early on, then compromised its credibility after
rapprochement between their royals. "That severely narrowed the limitations
of speech. I have heard many complaints from (Al Jazeera) hosts about the
terrible impact of the....reconciliation on their coverage and programming."
- "Now what happened recently was worse:" establishing
a solid alliance compromising it more. As a result, "only criticisms
of countries that are not on good terms with Saudi royals (are) allowed."
- April 15: AbuKhalil "was thinking yesterday while
doing (his) laps: (He) may have appeared for the last time ever on Al Jazeera
but (he's) glad that (his) last words were about Bahrain. The Saudi-Qarati-financed
Arab media want us to forget about Bahrain, but we won't."
- April 14: "Bahrain - Al Jazeera's scant reports
are hilarious. They are one sentence or two. They read - as they are -
like Bahraini propaganda press releases. Today, the network had a line
or two about (its) government planning to prosecute opposition groups,"
with no comments from them aired.
- April 14: "Al Jazeera and Syria." Despite good
Qatari - Syrian relations, Al Jazeera's coverage has been "negative,
and government propagandists are visibly mocked and ridiculed. And lately
the channel relies on sensational Saudi propaganda sheets for coverage."
- April 14: "Al Jazeera: the new Qatari foreign policy.
Bahrain does not exist as far as Al Jazeera is concerned, and they have
avoided inviting" on air Bahraini, Omani and Saudi critics. "Most
glaringly, Al Jazeera" suppresses criticisms of Bahraini repression.
As a result, GCC countries have "closed ranks and Qatar may be rewarded
with the coveted post of" Arab League secretary-general.
- April 11: "Al Jazeera's coverage of Libya is not
only politically bad and professionally over the top, but it is also worse
than all that - it is boring."
- March 23: "Shame on Al Jazeera. (Its) sinister role
(has) gotten worse, much worse" with its "obsessive non-stop
(Libyan) coverage" at the expense of important omitted news. "It
seems that Al Jazeera now operates according to the Western standards,"
providing one-sided propaganda, not unbiased reporting.
- February 17: Bahrainis "are on there own now. There
is no Al Jazeera to support their cause and expose the regime, and the
US and EU will do their best to rationalize and support government repression.
Shame on Al Jazeera Arabic for abandoning the people of Bahrain, and for
invoking a sectarian element in their coverage, implying that only Shi'ites
- On February 25, Monthly Review contributor Yoshie Furuhashi
headlined, "Al Jazeera Promotes Libya's 'Crown Prince' Who Calls for
Military Intervention in Libya," saying:
- Covering regional uprisings, Al Jazeera's reporting "began
to deteriorate....when revolutionary sparks" ignited in GCC states,
including Bahrain. About the same time, Libya was affected, another oil-producing
country. Henceforth, Bahain was forgotten to focus on Gaddafi.
- "Now there's nothing wrong with (doing it) if the
purpose is to convey accurate information. (But there's) everything wrong
with" propagandizing at the expense of truth. "And I'm afraid
that's exactly what Al Jazeera" did, supporting imperial intervention.
- "In both Arabic and English," it features "members
of the National Front for the Salvation of Libya," the main CIA/Saudi/French
intelligence funded opposition group, then combined with others to form
the National Conference for the Libyan Opposition umbrella organization.
- On February 24, Al Jazeera "hit a new low, (giving)
the self-styled 'Crown Prince' of Libya - Muhammad as-Senussi," its
so-called heir to the Senussi Crown, a platform to urge "the international
community to help remove Gaddafi from power and stop the (claimed) massacre."
In fact, most casualties and destruction were caused by daily Western bombing
and support for extremist rebels - a combination of untrained civilians,
former soldiers, and CIA-backed paramilitary Libya Islamic Fighting Group
(LIFG) insurgents, cutthroat killers acting as a proxy NATO force.
- Al Jazeera's Fall from Grace
- Launched in November 1996, the satellite channel once
aired "dissenting views, for example on call-in shows," according
to Wikipedia, adding that it "created controversies" among GCC
(Gulf Cooperation Council) countries, including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain,
Kuwait, UAE, Oman, and its home base, Qatar.
- Its chairman, Sheikh Hamad bin Thamer Al Thani, is a
distant cousin of Qatar's Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani. Wadah
Khanfar is director general and managing director of the Arabic channel.
Ahmed Sheikh is its editor-in-chief, Mohamed Nanabhay holding the same
English channel position.
- Its Arabic channel reaches 50 million or more global
viewers, its English one up to twice as many, a remarkable achievement
in less than 15 years with little US penetration where most viewers must
do it online. Elsewhere it's available by satellite or cable.
- Reportedly, Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi hosts its most popular
program, ash-Shariah wal-Hayat (Shariah and Life) and has significant overall
editorial influence. He's written over 80 books, serves as chief religious
scholar for IslamOnline, received eight international prizes for Islamic
scholarship, and in 2004 was an Oxford University Center for Islamic Studies
trustee. In 2008, Foreign Policy magazine ranked him third among public
intellectuals worldwide, despite his controversial views.
- Since 1999, however, he's prohibited from entering America,
and in 2008, Britain refused him a visa. On February 16, Der Spiegel contributor
Alexander Smoltczyk headlined, "Islam's Spiritual 'Dear Abby:' Yusuf
Qaradawi, The Voice of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood," saying:
- "(F)ew (others) have as much influence on Sunni
Muslims....(He's) a word machine, a one-man talk show that leaves no subject
unexamined....He's a driven man. (There's) only one Islamic scholar like
(him), who (memorized) the Koran (at age 10)....the only man who can help
the faithful understand the world." For the past 15 years, Al Jazeera's
broadcast his "Shariah and Life" program Sundays, viewed by up
to 60 million Muslims.
- Now aged 84, he's "a blend of pope and service hotline,
a spiritual 'Dear Abby' for all (aspects of) Muslim life," claiming
moderate credentials about which some disagree, among other reasons for
issuing a pro-Western fatwa against Gaddafi.
- However, on February 2, 2009, the extremist pro-Israeli
Anti-Defamation League denounced him for "support(ing) terrorist groups
that seek to undermine a peaceful resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli
conflict," and for "inciting violence against Jews and Israel."
- On February 22, the Los Angeles Times headlined, "Libya:
Popular TV cleric issues fatwa against Kadafi,"
- live on Al Jazeera, saying:
- "It is not heroism to fight your people and to hit
them with missiles....I say to my brothers and sons who are soldiers and
officers of the Libyan Army to disobey when (the government) gives orders
to kill the people using warplanes....I now issue a fatwa urging officers
and soldiers who can to kill" him....This man wants to annihilate
- Qaradawi, in fact, chose sides, using Al Jazeera's platform
to display a remarkable one-sidedness and lack of scholarship for a man
of his credentials, ignoring facts to support Western imperial war, conquest,
colonization, and exploitation of another Muslim country. As a result,
he's Al Jazeera's leading hawk against Libyans and others across the region
suffering repressively under despotic regimes, including GCC ones Al Jazeera
- A Final Comment
- Al Jazeera feature stories since April 15, include:
- April 15: "Western leaders insist 'Gaddafi must,'
go," vowing to keep fighting until he's gone, quoting Obama, Sarkozy,
and Cameron's day before propaganda, saying:
- "It is unthinkable that someone who has tried to
massacre his own people can play a part in their future government."
- April 15: "Gaddafi forces 'cluster bombing Misurata,'
" based solely on what insurgent leaders as well as Western officials
and media claim with no verifiable proof, categorically denied by Libya's
military saying they have none.
- April 19: "Libya death toll 'reaches 10,000,' "
again based solely on what insurgents claim, ignoring the toll from heavy
NATO bombing, using depleted uranium and other terror weapons.
- April 22: "(Senator) McCain urges recognition of
Libyan 'heros,' " - imperial proxy killers, in fact, Al Jazeera disgracefully
supports, propagandizing like their Western media counterparts, allied
in the same dirty war on truth.
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com
and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the
Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays
at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs
are archived for easy listening.