Friday, October 14, 2005

The Letter

Scott Johnson has a nice little jab at al Jazeera:
Al Jazeera appears to be operating as an arm of al Qaeda in its story on the Zawahiri letter that al Qaeda claims was faked by the United States. According to the last line in the linked Al Jazeera story: "The U.S. officials released the fake letter as Iraqis are a few days away from the crucial vote on the country’s new constitution." Shouldn't Al Jazeera put a little effort into creating the illusion of detachment from al Qaeda, at least in its English-language product?

Bonus: Scott is far and away the best headline writer in the blogosphere. I maintain that he's good enough to have worked side-by-side at the New York Post with the legendary Dawn Eden. And his encyclopedic knoweldge of music is impressive enough to make me want to have him do a segment of Old Guy Radio with Tony Kornheiser.

Scott's a national treasure.

Update, 1:29 p.m.: Thanks to the anonymous commenter who points out that Scott Johnson has retracted his above jab:
UPDATE: In the original version of this post I linked to a story purportedly carried by Al Jazeera that contested the authenticity of the letter. Timothy Usher writes:

Alert: is not "the" Al Jazeera, but an imposter site..."The" Al Jazeera is indeed biased against the United States, although less so than they used to be, due either to pressure from our friends in Qatar, or that the Jihadis have lost their appeal. Anyhow, its address is

The actual Al Jazeera seems rather skeptical of the denial (see this story): "A purported al-Qaida web posting"..."who claims to be spokesman for al-Qaida in Iraq. It could not be authenticated."

And speaks of the putative authorship as fact: "In the letter, taking up 13 typed pages in its English translation, al-Qaida deputy leader Ayman al-Zawahiri wrote...The letter laid out his long-term plan..."

Al Jazeera has contacts in Al Qaeda, as seen in the Spanish conviction, and they are the preferred outlet for AQ communiques. We should assume that their estimate is well-grounded; i.e., the letter is real.

Many thanks for the heads up; my high regard for Scott's headline remains, though.


Anonymous said...

JVL: 2 WTEM references today? What next? Gonna start referring to TK Stack Money and Andy Poli?

Anonymous said...


You should update this entry to reflect the fact that Scott has now retracted the slam on Al Jazerra -- he was taken in by a hoax that was not the real Al Jazeera site.