Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Al-Jazeera drops plans to cover Minuteman Project in Arizona

The Arizona Daily Star reports:
The Arab television network Al-Jazeera pulled the plug Monday on a series of news reports about the Arizona-Mexico border amid criticism that the information could help terrorists slip into the United States.
Other snippets from this report:
"I wanted to cover the story from the human point of view," said Nasreddine Hssaini, the Washington, D.C.-based Al-Jazeera reporter behind the series. "I wanted to go to Tombstone and Sasabe. I wanted to tell the story of democracy in action."

The network canceled the project, Hssaini said, after Minuteman organizer Chris Simcox refused to cooperate and then notified the Border Patrol and members of the state's congressional delegation about Al-Jazeera's plans.
For Simcox, Al-Jazeera and al-Qaida are virtually one and the same. They wanted to come to Arizona "to do reconnaissance," he said. "I will not have a part in that. I will not work with the enemy."
U.S. Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., noting that Al-Jazeera has been known to broadcast messages from the al-Qaida leadership to terrorist cells around the globe, was outraged that the network planned to visit Arizona.

"It is insane policy to allow Al-Jazeera to film Arizona's unsecured border with Mexico and then broadcast it to the very people who perpetrated 9/11," Franks said. Hssaini, who described himself as a Moroccan-born citizen of Canada working legally in the United States, dismissed the suggestion that his motive for coming to Arizona concerned something other than journalism.

"I am a professional journalist. They think bin Laden himself is sending me out there," he said. "I find it a little bit racist."
Yeah, well. Go figure. After all...
The U.S.-Mexico border has also been the source of much concern that terrorists could easily slip across it. U.S. officials have been saying since the Sept. 11 terror attacks that a group such as al-Qaida may use the open border with Mexico to slip across.
Note that no one has actually taken any action (legal or otherwise) to prevent the report from happening. Those involved are simply refusing to cooperate. Tough luck, Chuckles.

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