September 06, 2004

Aljazeera 'Indefinitely' Banned

In our latest round of 'What ****ing Century IS This, Anyway,' Aljazeera has now been indefinitely banned from broadcasting in Iraq, and their offices sealed with, well, just read. Emphasis mine:

Iraqi security officers stormed al-Jazeera's Baghdad offices and sealed the newsroom with red wax at the weekend after the US-backed interim government banned the Arabic television station from broadcasting in the country.

The raid followed a decision by the prime minister, Ayad Allawi, to close the station temporarily in August because of its apparent failure to support the US occupation. Officials said al-Jazeera had now been shut indefinitely because it had ignored the original ban. ...

Red wax. Is it just me, or does this seem singularly bizarre and dramatic. I guess they're sending a message to other journalists in the country, but they're sending a resounding 'screw you' to everyone in the Arab world who's ever believed in democracy or thought America was a good example. The people the neocons picked, or maybe the people Chalabi picked, or possibly the people that the spies riddling our government picked. Rabid conservatives with Serious Issues, every one.

Let's see what the great promoters of individual rights over in the modern Screw You wing of the Republican party have to say about this.

Posted by natasha at September 6, 2004 01:33 AM | Iraq | Technorati links |

Freedom of speech is not, and should not be, absolute. Think of Rwanda - had we acted to take out the genocidal radio stations there, we could have saved thousands of people. These stations were not just spouting hate, they were actually broadcasting lists of people to kill. The radio station owners were convicted of war crimes at Arusha.

Aljazeera has fallen from a legitimate and independent voice in the Middle East to become the mouthpiece for violent resistance in Iraq. Legitimate dissent has a very important role in a rebuilt Iraq. Calls for the violent overthrow of the government do not.

Posted by: Marty Wilde at September 7, 2004 12:07 AM

Just because our stations don't do it, let me remind you that it should be a function of journalism to actually show what's happening. They interview the opposition, they show pictures of what's happening on the ground. And in many cases, our news services and intelligence agencies end up turning to Aljazeera for information they can get nowhere else.

Your Rwanda comparison, as sad as that situation was, is irrelevant. The station itself isn't calling for the overthrow of anything, and it certainly isn't putting out hit lists of soldiers or Iraqi citizens. Worst problem is, it never occurs to people like you that it might actually be useful to know what others are thinking.

Posted by: natasha at September 7, 2004 12:41 PM

I feel that the freedom of speech and the right to freely assemble and protest. But apparently Dubya and the republicans do not think that way.

Posted by: Charlie Hacker at September 7, 2004 10:37 PM

It's amazing to have terrorists and apologists for terrorism ask the question, "how many Iraqis have been killed in the fight for democracy". A better question would be for those morons to ask, "how many more innocent women and children people have the terrorists executed today?" How much bravery does it take for grown men to cold-bloodedly murder little chilldren? What kind of mothers want to be party to killing their own flesh and blood? There is something seriously wrong with these people in the Middle East. Given that Iraqi mothers yearn for their children to "die for Allah", we may as well accomodate them. If their parets want them to die, what does it matter how they die. As far as I'm concerned, that flea-infested sandbox of a country should be turned into glass. Not one Western or American life was worth the dying to help that anachronistic bunch of murderers that inhabit that backwater bumfuck of a country.
Finally, what kind of "Allah" wants the blood of innocent children on his hands?
Finally, apologists say that only 5% of the Muslims are extremists. Given there are roughly 1 billion Muslims, that means there are 5 million extremists waiting to put the rest of the world under the knife. I would hazard the guess, that is the largest standing army in the world and they do not abide by the Geneva Convention or any norms of fair play. The gloves must come off and the Mid-East must be dealt a death blow. And all Muslims must be 'exported' back to their homelands as their are no concerted Muslim voices in North America denouncing the Muslim horrors. If they cannoot denounce the horrors of their Islamic brothers, then they are complicit in the murders. Hitler was a humanitarian compared to these Islamic madmen.

Posted by: frank morgan at September 14, 2004 07:15 PM

frank - First of all, many Muslims denounce terrorism regularly, particularly the community here in the U.S. The fact that you don't know about it is either an indictment of the mainstream media, or an indication that you're the sort of person who couldn't care less if the facts got in the way of your hatred. Which is to say that anyone who could say this...

"As far as I'm concerned, that flea-infested sandbox of a country should be turned into glass. Not one Western or American life was worth the dying to help that anachronistic bunch of murderers that inhabit that backwater bumfuck of a country."

...simply hasn't got the right to accuse anyone else of being a bloodthirsty extremist.

You clearly know nothing about Islam or Muslims, or middle easterners, and you've probably never met one socially. Many of them happen to actually be citizens, they have the same right to stay as anyone born here, and are no less capable of loving their country. Some of them are serving in the armed forces right now, dying so that an ignorant twit like yourself gets to sit in relative comfort, pretending to fight a battle that you'll never come within a day's drive of. It's people like you who make this country sound like a backwater, in spite of the noble sentiments expressed in our founding documents. You clearly don't believe that all men were created equal, instead seeming to think that you're part of a master race.

You'll learn someday, and you'll regret ever having typed the words you left here. Either that, or the Almighty will inflict a dread punishment: You will remain the same crabbed, shriveled, and angry person for the rest of your life.

Posted by: natasha at September 15, 2004 12:09 AM