Opening yesterday's Sunday edition of 'the New York Times' [NYT], a GuamDiary faithful reader, writes that she found a full page advertisement by 'Al Jazeera', alerting the 'better reading and informed public' that 'Al Jazeera.net' is easily accessible to the US public.
Demonised for many years, the broad American citizenry might be more than a little surprised that 'Al Jazeera TV' has been available in their nation's capitol for some years now, as well as to a small group of watchers in New Hampshire and Ohio. [The Pacifica Foundation's radio stations carry 'Al Jazeera' during the small hours of the morning.]
So what's 'haram' [forbidden] to the majority of US citizens is readily available to its elite and law makers and the White House. The idea sounds like something out of Orwell's 'Animal Farms' where the 'pigs' feast and the other barnyard animals labour in ignorance.
Recent events in Tunisia and Egypt have been followed, yes, by president Obama who remains glued to his telly as people power overthrew the dictator Ben Ali in Tunisia and in Egypt where a broad coalition is trying to throw the rascal Mubarak out, without much success so far.
'Al Jazeera' minute by minute coverage has shown the warts of US foreign policy in the Arab World. Although Wikileaks released US diplomatic cables on Tunisia and Egypt which show a high degree of perception as to the venality, corruption, and decay of those countries ruling classes, US policy hardly changed. Thus, when Ben Ali fled and Mubarak remains silent as the Giza Sphinx, the Obama administration, like 'Alice's' Red Queen is running faster and faster to keep in place. Washington is trying to square the circle in Egypt, with one day calling for a smooth transition of power and on the other, backing up Mubarak and his senior military supporters who in the end will remain in power with out Hosni Mubarak. Obama is not smelling sweet success yet but he's hoping and praying that the wisdom of Lampadusa's 'Leopard' will obtain--giving little to retain the levers of power.
Omar Suleiman, according to the leaked cable, is a sure favourite, as former head of the much dreaded and feared secret police, a man trained by the Americans, who helped with the infamous Bush 'rendition programme' of torture of prisoners, and a favourite of the Israelis.
Appointed Mubarak's vice president, Suleiman is the public face of negotiations and dealing with the protesters. He will listen but more likely than not, won't budge hardly a centrimetre of reforms.
'Al Jazeera' has been in the forefront of covering the Arab World and giving a minute by minute blow of what's happening in Egypt. Its full page advertisement, it is hoped, will move the Obama administration to allow it the rights to broadcast like any normal cable news programme in the US. The smokescreen of being the right hand of Islamic terrorist won't wash, for the simple reason high Israeli officials appear on 'Al Jazeera'. If the Israeli don't fear 'Al Jazeera', why should the more powerful Americans?
An informed American public is the best advertisement for democracy and daily participation in the affairs locally and nationally, and that's the last thing the powers that be in America's ruling and corporate classes want. So even though the president gets his news from 'Al Jazeera', the ordinary citizen may still remain in the darkness.
Still...googling 'Al Jazeera English' will bring the curious America to its online website and there he or she will certainly get an education and see examples of journalism like it used to be and at its very best.