A report dated July 3, 2020, compiled by former Republican Congresswoman, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida’s 27th congressional district, provides convincing evidence that the Al Jazeera television network has been operating as an agent of the Qatari government for several years, a direct violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).
The report titled, “Report Concerning Qatar’s Al Jazeera Media Network & The Foreign Agents Registration Act” evaluates whether Al Jazeera is an “agent of a foreign principal” obligated to register with the Department of Justice (“DOJ” or “the Department”) pursuant to the Foreign Agents Registration Act (“FARA”), 22 U.S.C. § 611 et seq.
Like Russia’s RT, China’s CGTN, and Turkey’s TRT media outlets, each of which the department has required to register under FARA, Al Jazeera is owned, funded, directed, and controlled by the Government of Qatar, and it engages in political activities and disseminates information in the United States that advances the interests of that foreign government.
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As of July 3, 2020 of the report, Al Jazeera still has not registered under FARA.
Within the 124 page report, the report states that the U.S. Government has repeatedly found that Qatar owns, controls, finances, or directs Al Jazeera. In a 2020 report on Qatar, the U.S. Congressional Research Service stated plainly that Qatar “owns and subsidizes” Al Jazeera.
In its 2018 and 2019 Country Report on Human Rights Practices, the U.S. State Department noted that “[t]he government owned and partially funded the Doha-based Al-Jazeera satellite television network, which carried regional, international, and theme-based programming.
Elliot Abrams, a senior U.S. diplomat and scholar at the Council on Foreign Relations, explained how Qatar directs and controls Al Jazeera to advance Qatar’s interests:
Al Jazeera is wholly owned by the Qatari royal family, whose interests it will pretty obviously protect. It is not, in that sense, a news channel, even if it broadcasts news. Here’s a simple test: is al Jazeera able to report candidly on events in Qatar? The answer is no.
The Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) stated that as long ago as December 2009, a State Department cable stated that Qatar was using Al-Jazeera as “an informal tool … of foreign policy.” Nothing has changed in the intervening years. Middle East Online (MEO) reported in January that Al Jazeera had begun “advocating for policies aligned to Gulf emirate, costing it audiences and credibility, especially on the Arabic channel.” Even Facebook “notified Al Jazeera late last year it would be tagged as ‘state-controlled,'” the MEO report said.
MEO noted that the network “has drawn the ire of regional rulers from Rabat to Riyadh for allegedly fomenting unrest and backing Islamists during the Arab Spring revolution that has gripped the Arab world.”
The Ros-Lehtinen report notes that “Qatar uses Al Jazeera strategically to advance its foreign policy objectives,” including to support Iran and promote Hamas. What’s more, “the highest levels of Qatar’s leadership have openly supported leaders of terrorist and extremist groups.”
Al Jazeera supports not just Hamas, but the entire Palestinian terrorist enterprise and efforts to de-legitimize and destroy Israel.
Read more of the Ileana Ros-Lehtinen report here.
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