Dorrance Smith, former head of the Iraqi Television Network, has an essay outlining the collaboration between terrorists, al-Jazeera, and the American news media.

On April 11, Jeffrey Ake, an American, was taken hostage in Iraq. Video of him in captivity was shown on al-Jazeera on April 13. A short time later six American networks--ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, CNN and MSNBC--aired the same video, a vivid example of the ongoing relationship between terrorists, al-Jazeera and the networks. Last week, al-Jazeera showed video of a helicopter being shot, bursting into flames and trailing smoke as it fell to the ground. It also aired video of the lone survivor being forced to walk on a broken leg and then being shot by the terrorists, one of whom said, "We are applying God's law."

As the war continues, more hostages will be taken and acts of murderous violence committed--leading to more videos for al-Jazeera and the networks. Isn't it time to scrutinize the relationship among al-Jazeera, American networks and the terrorists? What role should the U.S. government be playing? ...

While I was in Iraq in 2004, Al-Jazeera was expelled from the country by the Iraqi Governing Council for violating international law. Numerous times they had advance knowledge of military actions against coalition forces. Instead of reporting to the authorities that it had been tipped off, Al-Jazeera would pre-position a crew at the event site and wait for the attack, record it and rush it on air. This happened time after time, to the point where Al-Jazeera was expelled from Iraq. The airing of the Ake video, however, demonstrates that it can still operate on behalf of the terrorists even from outside the country. ...

In addition to being subsidized by Qatar, Al-Jazeera has very strong partners in the U.S.--ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, CNN and MSNBC. Video aired by Al-Jazeera ends up on these networks, sometimes within minutes. The terrorists are aware of this access and use it--as in the Ake case--to further their aims. They want to reach the American audience and influence public opinion.

The arrangement between the U.S. networks and Al-Jazeera raises questions of journalistic ethics. Do the U.S. networks know the terms of the relationship that Al-Jazeera has with the terrorists? Do they want to know?

Terrorists use the murder of innocents as a currency to purchase airtime on American news networks. The money the networks make as a result is soaked in blood.



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