US Moves to Close Down Al-Jazeera TV (Counterpunch)

Mike Friedman mikedf at
Fri Aug 1 11:38:44 MDT 2003

August 1, 2003

US Moves to Close Down Al-Jazeera TV

Wolfowitz the Censor



Only a day after US Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz claimed
that the Arabic Al-Jazeera television channel was "inciting violence"
and "endangering the lives of American troops" in Iraq, the station's
Baghdad bureau chief has written a scathing reply to the American
administration, complaining that in the past month the station's
offices and staff in Iraq "have been subject to strafing by gunfire,
death threats, confiscation of news material, and multiple detentions
and arrests, all carried out by US soldiers..."

The unprecedented dispute between an Anglo-American occupation
authority supposedly dedicated to "democracy" in Iraq and an Arab
station once praised by Washington for its services to free speech in
the Arab world comes at a time when the US administration appears to
be laying the ground work to close down Al-Jazeera's operations in
Iraq --along with those of the Arabia channel --for alleged
"incitement to violence".

America's senior occupation proconsul in Iraq, Paul Bremer, has
officially stated that he would close down newspapers or television
stations guilty of "incitement to violence" --without, of course,
explaining exactly what this phrase means.

Wolfowitz, a right-wing ideologue and fervent supporter of Israel, is
one of the cabal of advisers who pushed the US administration into
war with Iraq on the grounds that Saddam possessed weapons of mass
destruction and that the destruction of his regime would open the way
to a new, democratic Middle East. He used the equally right-wing and
Murdoch-owned Fox Channel to make his allegations against Al-Jazeera,
many of which are palpably false. He claimed, for example, that the
staff of Al-Jazeera "have a way when they want to cover somebody
favorably, including Saddam Hussein in the old days, of slanting the
news incredibly ... and now, the minute they get something that they
can use to spread hatred and violence in Iraq, they're broadcasting
it around."

Michael Friedman
Ph.D. Candidate in Ecology, Evolutionary Biology and Behavior
City University of New York

Molecular Laboratory
Department of Invertebrate Zoology
American Museum of Natural History
Central Park West at 79th Street
New York, NY  10024
(212) 313-8721

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