Stunning news from Expatica's German edition (bolds are mine; because of its brevity, the entire report is included here):
Germans say al-Qaeda no longer organizing strikes
18 May 2006
DUESSELDORF - Al-Qaeda's hierarchy in western Europe has vanished and the terrorist network's leadership has largely ceased direct management of attacks, a senior German police intelligence officer told a trial court this week.
She said the al-Qaeda leadership now mainly relied on video and internet proclamations to inspire Islamists in the western world to act on their own.
Germany's BKA federal crime agency had no evidence of Islamists swearing an oath of loyalty to Osama bin Laden since 2001 to become al-Qaeda members. The only terrorist to have done so since that date was Abu-Musab al-Sarqawi, the Jordanian who mounts attacks in Iraq.
Mumin Salih writes in Islam Watch, a blog of ex-Muslims, that the Arab satellite news channel Al-Jazeera was given legitimacy by the West when American and British politicians "joined the race with their desire to appear on this channel to address the Arab people." The Western media has not helped, either, who "are engaged in a mission of self-flagellation and self-blaming for all the faults in the world including the terror crimes."
Since its launch in 1995, Aljazeera followed a consistent anti-American policy. Its clever editing and broadcasting made the un-informed and gullible audience think of Aljazeera as an impartial news channel. At the same time it was directing the minds of that simple audience to its mindset of thinking. This mindset is normally an anti American one. Even when America sided with the Muslims of former Yougoslavia and intervened for their protection, the channel could not hide its position vis-à-vis Milosevic, the Serbian leader who was seen as a friend and ally by the Iraqi dictator. The Iraqi leader awarded Milosevic with the highest Iraqi Medal!
Aljazeera came to be known to the west after the terrorists’ attacks on 9/11 and the subsequent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. By then, its alliances with Taliban, Alqaeda and Saddam were difficult to hide. Their reporters were given previliges by those terrorist organizations not given to any one else. Aljazeera’s news footages were broadcast everywhere by western channels providing Aljazeera with free worldwide publicity.
Liberals who believe both Fox News and CNN have become cheerleaders for the war in Iraq may have another alternative: Al Jazeera International.
The Rocky Mountain News reports that the nascent English-language channel has finally found at least one carrier in the U.S. who is willing to put the channel in its lineup.
EchoStar's Dish Network is the only cable or satellite operator in the U.S. publicly willing to consider carrying controversial Arab news channel Al Jazeera's planned English-language spinoff.
Even on Dish, Al Jazeera's attempt to provide an alternative to Western news outlets like BBC World and CNN International isn't likely to appear on any of the satellite-TV operator's popular programming tiers.
"We have several offers and options under consideration, including with EchoStar, but have not yet signed anything," said Rana Jazayerli, a Washington-based spokeswoman for the news channel. "We will make our plans public after we have finalized."
The authoritarian government of China is well-known for suppressing free speech and sometimes getting American media companies eager to cash in on a huge emerging market to help it do so. Yahoo, Microsoft, Google, Time Warner, Fox, and others have soiled their reputations assisting the communist regime's crack downs on dissent.
American media companies don't always back down. Sometimes, however, they're censored directly by the Chinese government itself. Such was the case today when a protestor apparently affiliated with the meditation group Falun Gong managed to get herself close to Chinese president Hu Jintao as he was visiting the White House.
As the woman's voice began shouting out before being arrested by Secret Service agents, Chinese television blacked the screen and muted the audio, according to Matt Drudge. After the event was over, when CNN International (the version of CNN seen outside the United States) began discussing the protestor, its signal was abuptly cut off to Chinese viewers, making some wonder what was going on.
Here's a new one. To add to the media's laundry list of supposed failures in Iraq is a unique allegation by the BBC. Apparently Saddam Hussein had a soft spot for the gay rights movement, and now that Bush has invaded, homosexuals are being persecuted.
To many Hollywood left types, this must truly be the reason we shouldn't of entered Iraq.
"I don't want to be gay anymore. When I go out to buy bread, I'm afraid. When the doorbell rings, I think that they have come for me."
That is the fear that haunts Hussein, and other gay men in Iraq.
They say that since the US-led invasion, gays are being killed because of their sexual orientation.
The New York Post reports that Arab news channel Al Jazeera is having trouble finding any U.S. cable providers willing to carry its new English-language channel.
AL-Jazeera International, the English-language network of the controversial Arab channel Al-Jazeera, is set to launch this summer - but still does not have a single cable company signed up to carry it.
The network is staffed largely by Western journalists, including "Nightline" correspondent David Marash and veteran interviewer David Frost.
It had been set to launch last month, but for unexplained reasons, postponed its start date until summer.
Dan Gainor reports to me that the Norwegian paper Aftenposten noted that a "comedian" named Otto Jespersen took to his TV show to burn pages of the Old Testament, and riots did not ensue:
The burly, middle-aged Norwegian seems to have a thing for fires: He's perhaps best known for an American flag-burning stunt on national TV three years ago, to protest the US-led invasion of Iraq.
This week, with the help of the local fire brigade, Jespersen lit a bonfire in front of Ålesund's city hall. With cameras rolling for his TV show "Rikets Røst," Jespersen first started burning some Norwegian books. Then, with the willing cooperation of Ålesund Mayor Arve Tonning, he threw paper money on the flames.
Journalism.co.uk has an article about how blogs will force journalism to be more professional. Mediocre journalists who produce work inferior to that of bloggers will be cut, as there is no need to keep dross on the payroll. For years, mediocre journalists were sheltered by huge media companies and the lack of transparency.
Among older, traditional journalists there is often a palpable sense of newspaper protectionism: lightweight, predictable, and often just plain wrong assumptions about, and rejection of, the digital age, accompanied by a cosy nostalgia about the sticky, sour smell of the presses and the reassuring crumpliness of the papers they delivered as a lad.
It is an inevitable and very natural process of evolution to resist change, which is why it is refreshing to hear those digital realisations from Jon Snow: a man of, well, some experience.
This morning’s Jerusalem Post has a wrap on yesterday’s elections, which saw the once-dominant Likud party drop to fourth place, winning only 11 seats in the new parliament. One of the Likud members ousted in yesterday’s election says that some Israeli media outlets were blatantly biased against Likud and its leader, Benjamin Netanyahu, which stood against plans to transfer West Bank settlements to the Palestinians.
An excerpt from the Post story, which had multiple bylines: