The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

Al-Jazeera targeted?

The Committee to Protect Journalists has issued a statement today expressing its concern over the new information--regarding the November 2001 bombing of Al-Jazeera office in Kabul-- that accuses the US army of deliberately targeting the Arab satellite channel office. The information has come out in Ron Suskind’s new book, The One Percent Doctrine.

“On November 13, a hectic day when Kabul fell to the Northern Alliance and there were celebrations in the streets of the city, a U.S. missile obliterated Al-Jazeera’s office,� Suskind wrote in the book, which was released yesterday. “Inside the CIA and White House there was satisfaction that a message had been sent to Al-Jazeera.�

Questioned yesterday by CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer, Suskind said: “My sources are clear that that was done on purpose, precisely to send a message to Al-Jazeera, and essentially a message was sent. ...There was great anger at Al-Jazeera at this point.� Suskind said U.S. officials considered Al-Jazeera a mouthpiece for al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

Asked who made the decision to target the station, Suskind told Blitzer that because of “sourcing issues� he couldn’t say. “You don’t put everything you know in a book like this. But I’ll tell you emphatically it was a deliberate act by the U.S.� CNN reported last night that Pentagon officials speaking on background denied that the attack was intentional and said it was the first that they had heard about it.

Al-Jazeera Kabul Correspondent then, Tayseer 3allouni, managed to escape unharmed, only to come under US attack again, as an airstrike targeted the channel's Baghdad Bureau on 8 April 2003, killing 3allouni's Jordanian colleague, Tareq Ayoub.

3allouni is currently incarcerated in Spain on terror charges, following an unjust trial, condemned by several rights watchdogs.