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Wednesday, May. 25, 2005 at 11:39 PM
A German news mag "Der Speigel" reveals that the Bush regime is providing US0 Million funding for a TV station, Al-Hurra("the free one in Arabic"), that airs embedded American versions of "news"--from its plushy offices, fully equipped with designer furniture, flat-screen monitors in Virginia--back into Iraq. How's that for high-tech informational warfare?
Remember the hue and cry during WWII about the so-called 'Tokyo Rose'? Now, in 2005 the info meisters in Washington has come up with a higher-paid & higher-tech equivalent in the propaganda war, with a svelte announcer who could be fittingly named "Baghdad Betty"(her TV alias is Zain Saleem). After all, the 34-year-old attractive Baghdad native has impeccable credentials as a mouthpiece for official propaganda--she was a presenter on Saddam Hussein's state-run television stattion 'before the Fall.'
Station director Mouafac Harb claims that "We bring freedom and democracy to the Middle East." But he conveniently omits the fact that he owes his job to Norman Pattiz, a member of the U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors and--more importantly--an overseer for all of Voice of America(aka the White House's own FOX channel)programming. Tellingly, Al-Hurra has a revolving-door policy with the highest levels of the Bush regime--it has direct access to correspondents in the White House, to the Pentagon and to the State Department, AND the administration has direct access to Al-Hurra. A convenient as well as "fair & balanced" 'partnership' made in NeoCon media heaven, some critics might be tempted to say.
Oh, one more revealing titbit that reflects its commitment to openness and accountability--in the wake of the Abu Ghraib torture of Iraqi prisoners, President Bush appeared in an interview on Al-Hurra and promised that "America will bring those responsible to justice."
Hearing that, millions of Iraqi citizens(Al-Hurra claims it reaches 20 million Arab viewers each week) must have been enheartened by that compassionate voice of Reason and Generosity from across the Atlantic.
Stay tuned for more "feel-good" stories about the dozens of repaired elementary school toilets that Halliburton has just refurbished with their Billion "reconstruction" funds...
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