Rep. Steve Scalise, a Republican from Louisiana who is the new chairman of the Republican Study Committee (RSC), believes Al Jazeera has a First Amendment right to expand its broadcasts in the United States and that a congressional investigation of Al Gore’s deal with the channel is not warranted.
Scalise, a self-described “staunch conservative,” is the new chairman of the RSC, which is the “caucus of House conservatives.” His action makes it increasingly unlikely that the House will exercise any oversight of Al Gore’s controversial sale of his Current TV channel to the mouthpiece of the Muslim Brotherhood.
The buyer is the Middle Eastern regime of Qatar, which owns Al Jazeera. The Qatar regime advertises itself as “America’s Strongest Partner in the Gulf” but has supported terrorist groups such as al Qaeda, Hezbollah, and Hamas. Osama bin Laden aide and 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who is currently in U.S. custody in Guantanamo Bay for acts of terrorism, lived and worked in Qatar but was allowed to leave for Pakistan as U.S. authorities were trying to apprehend him, according to the report of the 9/11 commission.
In Pakistan, Mohammed planned 9/11 and decapitated Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, who was kidnapped while investigating the al-Qaeda networks in the Middle East.
Sarah E. Makin, Director of Conservative Coalitions and State Outreach at the House Republican Study Committee, told this journalist on Tuesday afternoon that she received an explanation of Scalise’s position on the Al Jazeera deal after consulting with aides to the congressman.
Conservatives had been asking Scalise to support an investigation on the grounds that a foreign-funded channel based in the Middle East, with a reputation for airing terrorist propaganda, should be examined for its ties to terrorist groups.
Foreigners are entitled to First Amendment protections in the United States, except when they run afoul of existing laws and engage in criminal or terrorist activities.
By offering the First Amendment excuse in favor of the deal, Scalise is ignoring the evidence that Al Jazeera is not a legitimate news operation but rather a conduit for propaganda from terrorist groups, with whom it has intimate and ongoing relations.
In the United States, it is against the law to provide material support to terrorists, with “material support” defined as including expert advice or assistance and communications equipment.
In World War II, Tokyo Rose and Axis Sally broadcast their anti-American diatribes from overseas and were apprehended by U.S. authorities after the war and sent to prison for treason. In the more shocking Al Jazeera case, the U.S. is officially still at war with global terrorism, but Al Gore is giving the channel a base of operations on American soil with access to 40-50 million homes.
Although it will be called “Al Jazeera America,” the channel will still be totally controlled and funded by the government of Qatar, which doesn’t permit freedom of the press in its own country.
Existing federal law requires that foreign propaganda broadcasts in the U.S. be labeled as such, a provision of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) that the Obama Administration has decided to ignore.
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