Despite the pathetic turnout—only about two dozen people showed up—the demonstration garnered attention from such news organizations as the Associated Press and Reuters.
Moshe Phillips, a Philadelphia-based writer/researcher and activist, told AIM, “The words of Dr. Judea Pearl, the father of slain American journalist Daniel Pearl, echoed though my head as I watched the marchers. Dr. Pearl stated last year that ‘weakening the West is their [Al-Jazeera’s] first priority. Al-Jazeera is an anti-Western propaganda machine that also engages in news services for profit and status.’ He was right. And now we see the active and visible collusion between the dregs of the Occupy Philadelphia / Occupy Wall Street crowd with Al-Jazeera. On the streets of Philly today we saw a dark sign of things to come. The question is how much did Al-Jazeera pay for the Occupiers’ services today?”
Pamela Geller, editor and publisher of the Atlas Shrugs blog, told AIM the channel should not only be discouraged but officially blocked from U.S. media markets because of its links to terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda. “Terror TV Al-Jazeera should be designated a terrorist organization just like [Hezbollah’s channel] Al-Manar. Al-Manar is designated a terrorist organization,” she said.
Under such a designation, the Qatar-based and funded channel could be stopped from operating on American soil and its agents and “news personnel” imprisoned.
Geller, who also serves as president of Stop Islamization of Nations (SION), added, “The propaganda war against the West is being waged on all fronts, but no organization has done as much to spread hate, lies and incitement to violence as Al-Jazeera. Al-Jazeera is the leading terrorist propaganda organization in the world. Jihad murder mastermind Anwar al-Awlaki has praised Al-Jazeera, and several years ago one of its most prominent reporters was arrested on terror charges. Al-Jazeera also has for years been the recipient of numerous Al-Qaeda videos featuring bin Laden, Zawahiri, and American traitor Adam Gadahn. Yet they never seem to be able to trace where these videos are coming from. They have repeatedly been set up at the point of attack right before a bomb went off, so that they could take the picture of the slaughtered, dismembered bodies.”
The Philadelphia demonstration was organized by the little-known Rethink Press, a group that boasts a “partnership” relationship with the George Soros-funded Free Press. Al-Jazeera officials openly encouraged the protests through the popular website Meetup.
Meredith Larson, one of the founders of Rethink Press, is listed on the Facebook page for the “First National Call In Day to Demand Al Jazeera English.” Her own personal Facebook page identifies her interests as including Barack Obama, the Democratic Party, the Free Gaza Movement, Noam Chomsky, National Public Radio, Southern Poverty Law Center, and Al-Jazeera English.
The “Campaign for Al Jazeera English’s DC Networking Event,” now on YouTube, featured Mike Haack of Rethink Press describing how the campaign for Al-Jazeera was being conducted through the “Meetup” website. The event was held at Busboys and Poets in Washington D.C., a left-wing bookstore, restaurant, and gathering place, and co-sponsored by the Human Rights Action Center, Institute for Policy Studies, and the Media and Democracy Coalition. People were invited to talk about “why they love Al-Jazeera English.”
Haack’s bio says he “likes Al Jazeera English because of its superb coverage of economic inequalities in the United States.” His Facebook page lists his interests as including Occupy Your Workplace, Noam Chomsky, Institute for Policy Studies, U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, Students for Sensible Drug Policy, and the International Solidarity Movement.
Anticipating violence, security officers and representatives from the Comcast building management in Philadelphia stopped the protesters from entering. One report said, “Rethink leaders Xi Wang and Mike Haack were admitted briefly under escort. They brought the signatures, printed on 1,000 pages and tied with a ribbon, to the mail room for delivery to Comcast officials.”
Florida broadcaster Jerry Kenney, a critic of the channel’s efforts to get carriage in the U.S. media market, commented that “It is obvious that these occupiers are clueless that Al Jazeera English is owned and operated by a one percenter, a petrodollar billionaire dictator who forbids freedom of the press in his own country and who could buy Comcast with his pocket change. Why aren’t they protesting for free speech in Qatar or at the Qatar embassy?”
Kenney went on, “The owner of Al Jazeera English is so repressive and paranoid of free speech that he has routinely imprisoned bloggers and even a World Cup film crew. But I guess if 30 tax-supported public television station program managers, mostly in academia, who currently carry Al-Jazeera English for free, think that a dictator’s point of view is just what Americans are crying out for, well, how can we blame another group of useful idiots for thinking the same?”
He is referring to the tax-supported public television stations airing foreign propaganda channels such as Al-Jazeera English and Russia Today (RT).
The small Philadelphia protest was the culmination of months of effort, described as “Bringing Jihad TV to America” by Matthew Vadum of the Capital Research Center in a FrontPageMag.com story last August. He noted that radical activist Phyllis Bennis of the Institute for Policy Studies had been a featured speaker at the “Campaign for Al Jazeera English” event in Washington, D.C., hosted by Rethink Press. Bennis explained, “If there were Al Jazeera access in every city in this country, building a movement to challenge U.S. foreign policy, to make it something different than what it is, would be a whole hell of a lot easier than it is now.”
What she had in mind, Vadum explained, was weakening the U.S. as a world power and undermining its allies such as Israel.
Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism and can be contacted at email@example.com.