On Tape: AJ Manager to Uday Hussein "Al-Jazeera is your channel"
The Word Unheard from the Middle East is that a video tape has surfaced from the rubble in Iraq on which a former al-Jazeera manager, Mohammed Jassem al-Ali, meets with Uday Hussein and declares, "Al-Jazeera is your channel."
A videotape found in a pile of documents in Baghdad following the collapse of Saddam Hussein's regime shows a former manager of the Al-Jazeera satellite channel thanking one of Saddam's sons for his support and telling him that "Al-Jazeera is your channel," the Asharq al-Awsat newspaper reported Sunday.
According to Asharq al-Awsat's report, the tape of the March 13, 2000, meeting shows former Al-Jazeera manager Mohammed Jassem al-Ali telling Odai Saddam Hussein, "Al-Jazeera is your channel," and Odai recalls that he proposed "some ideas" in previous meetings that led to "some changes" in political coverage, including the introduction of new hosts on Al-Jazeera programs.
It appears that the American-funded al-Hurra, largely viewed as the West's counter to al-Jazeera, will air the taped conversation this Thursday, January 6th. If nothing else, it will serve to legitimize America's view that there was a need to counter al-Jazeera's tainted coverage.
The London-based daily (Asharq al-Awsat) said its front page report was based on a tape it saw from an unaired Al-Hurra television station documentary. Mouwafak Harb, Al-Hurra's news director in Washington, said the channel will air the tape on Thursday. Al-Hurra, or The Free One, was launched by the U.S. government to counter Arab satellite channels which were accused by the U.S. defense secretary of turning Arabs against America.
Describing the 'you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours' arrangement rather plainly on the tape, al-Ali is seen saying to Uday:
"I am here to hear your viewpoints and take your remarks. Had it not been for your cooperation and support for us, I would not have succeeded in my mission. My mission in Iraq played a big role in Al-Jazeera's successes. Many (Iraqi) brothers, who always carried out your instructions, have always been a support for us....Thank God, the mission was fully successful as a result of our presence (in Iraq) ... Thank God, we had consecutive activities for the benefit of the two sides."
Well, well. Did you ever doubt it? Rarely does a gem like this come along so plainly. Happy birthday to me!
Question: Will Dan Rather find this media item worthy of reporting? Or will he first check with his litany of experts to determine if this is a Pentagon/Rumsfeld plant (dare I say forgery)?
WANTED: Major International News organization seeking experienced PR Professional. Must be quick thinking, articulate, crafty and have inventive crisis management skills. Arabic fluency a plus, but not required. Must be willing to relocate (at our expense). Salary commensurate with experience (paid in dinars). EOE (...but no infidels, please.)
(Big Hat Tip LGF & Command Post)